Friday, August 30, 2013

Tuesday Serenade, November 5, 2013 @ 7pm

Jacksonville University Singers

Dr. Timothy Snyder, director
Edith Moore-Hubert, collaborative pianist
Jeremy McKinnies, assistant conductor


South African Folksong: Vela! Asambeni Siyekhaya! (arr. Merwe)

Victoria:  O Magnum mysterium
Biebel: Ave Maria
       Austin Clark, Jamil Abdur Rahman, Jacobe King, soloists
       Caitlyn Fyfe, Michaela Wright, Latonio Nichols, trio
Whitacre: Lux arumque

Georgian Hymn: Shen khar venakhi (arr. Paliashvili)
Lauridsen: Sure on This Shining Night
       Men of the University Singers

Whitacre: Five Hebrew Love Songs  
1. Temuná - 2. Kalá kallá - 3. Laróv - 4. Éyze shéleg! - 5. Rakút
       Women of the University Singers
       Breanne Wilder, violin; Christine Dennard, percussion 

Rodgers & Hammerstein: This Nearly Was Mine (South Pacific)
       Alec Hadden, soloist
Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade
       Sadie Schneider, soloist

Faure: Requiem, Op. 48 (Selections)
1. Introït (Requiem æternam) & Kyrie -- 5. Agnus Dei -- 6. Libera me -- 7. In paradisum
       Alec Hadden, soloist

Olatunji-WhalumBetelehemu (arr. Brooks)
Lennon-McCartney: Blackbird (arr. Rosen)
Johnson: Ain't Got Time to Die
       Latonio Nichols, soloist

Choral Music at Jacksonville University

Under the direction of Timothy Snyder since 2010, the Jacksonville University Choirs contribute to the cultural life of northeastern Florida by bringing high quality and artistically polished performances of the choral repertoire to campus, the community and the region.The JU Choirs have performed for the American Choral Directors Association, Beaches Fine Arts Series, Chamber Music Society of Good Shepherd, and the Florida Music Educators Association.  In addition to numerous collaborations with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, notable appearances include concerts in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and England’s Canterbury Cathedral, as well as in cathedrals in Paris, Chartres and Nantes during a concert tour of France this past summer.

1st Sopranos
Haley Cox, Sadie Schneider, Samantha Wicklund

2nd Sopranos
Caitlyn Fyfe, Kelly McCandless, Allison McClain

1st Altos
Alexandra Abreu, Laura Shannon, Brooke Smith*

2nd Altos
Christine Dennard, Danielle Giacchetto, Michaela Wright

*Business Manager
     1st Tenors
Jamil Abdur-Rahman, Jacobe King, Chris Robertson

2nd Tenors
Ryan Manning, Quayshaun Oliver, Matt Robertson

1st Basses
Austin Clark, Jeremy McKinnies, Jackson Merrill

2nd Basses
Alec Hadden**, Latonio Nichols, James Webb

**Stage Manager

Timothy Snyder is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Jacksonville University where he directs the University Singers, Men's and Women's Choirs, and teaches courses in choral arranging, literature, choral methods and music history.   Coming to JU from Colorado where he was Artistic Director of the Boulder Chorale from 2001-2010, Dr. Snyder was honored with a 2008 Boulder County Pacesetter Award “in recognition of significant contributions to the arts and entertainment in the community.” Distinguishing himself as a chorusmaster, he has prepared choirs for the Yale Symphony and Philharmonia, Jacksonville Symphony, Colorado MahlerFest, and Colorado Music Festival.  Dr. Snyder taught high school in Connecticut, served on the music faculties of Connecticut College and the Yale School of Music, and has directed church music programs in Connecticut and Colorado. Active as a composer, his choral works are widely performed and recorded, and have earned recognition in competitions sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association, the Composer's Guild, and Ithaca College.  Much in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Timothy Snyder holds degrees in choral literature and performance, conducting, and music education from the University of Colorado (D.M.A.), Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music (M.M.), and Colorado State University (M.M.; B.M.Ed.).

After completing her bachelor’s degree with Hugh Thomas at Birmingham-Southern College, Edith Moore-Hubert continued her piano studies with Herbert Stessin of the Juilliard School. She obtained her master’s degree in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music, where her professors included Solomon Mikowsky, Robert Abramson, Raymond Lewenthal, Gary Graffman and Earl Wild. Ms. Moore-Hubert has been a member of the music faculties at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College Conservatory, and currently is a member of the piano faculties at Jacksonville University and Florida State College at Jacksonville.  A 2008 winner of an Individual Artist Award from The Community Foundation of Jacksonville, Edie has collaborated in performances in Leipzig, Weimar, Nurnberg, Bern, Strasbourg, New York, Philadelphia, and throughout the Southeast. She is an active chamber musician, performing with the San Marco Chamber Music Society and St. Augustine Music Festival, and she presented a Music @ Main recital with cellist Linda Minke in December 2009.  Her CD, Music for Body and Soul, funded through the generosity of The Community Foundation of Jacksonville and Polymusic Studios in Birmingham, Alabama, is a collection of classical works suitable for the healthcare setting, and is available on itunes and

Jeremy McKinnies is Principal Assistant Conductor of the Jacksonville University Choirs, and is a Senior B.M. candidate in Composition at Jacksonville University.  Well-known as Jacksonville's Jay Myztroh, the versatile McKinnies is a founding member of the Elevated Hip-Hop Experience, a hip-hop band that incorporates funk, jazz, reggae, latin, hip-hop, soul, and rock into its sound. Performing keyboards, vocals and free-style rap, he also is known for his work with The Gootch, a popular local cover band, and with the rock band Wild Life Society.  Mr. McKinnies is Director of the PACE School for Girls Chorus, and works closely with Deborah McDuffie of Atlantic Coast High School and Jacksonville Mass Choir.  

PROGRAM NOTES, by Edward Lein, Music Librarian

Vela! Asambeni Siyekhaya! (Come! We Are Going Home!) is a South African folksong sung in the Zulu language, and arranged by André van der Merwe for a 2004 publication. From Cape Town, South Africa, Merwe is much in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, including in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.  He is the conductor of Stellenbosch University Choir, South Africa's oldest choir (founded 1936), which is currently ranked no. 1 in the Interkultur World Rankings; his Stellenberg Girls Choir also made the top 10, coming in at no. 7.
Come! We are going home! Come, we want to see you!
We are from [Jacksonville University].
Yes, we are going home! Oh! We are going home!
Home is near now, oh yes!
We shall cross over, we shall arrive home!

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) is the best-known Spanish composer of the late Renaissance.  His compositional output is devoted exclusively to sacred music, and along with Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso, Victoria is credited with helping to revitalize the music of the Roman Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation. A gifted organist, Victoria studied, taught and performed in Rome from 1565-1587, where he also entered the priesthood.  Written during his Italian sojourn and first published in 1572, O magnum mysterium is a four-voice motet on a text taken from a responsory for Christmas morning.
O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum. Alleluia. 
O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia.

Franz Biebl (1906-2001) was a German choral conductor and composer who spent most of World War II in Michigan as a prisoner of war. After returning to Germany, he worked for the Bavarian Radio in a position that allowed him to invite American choirs to participate in broadcasts. Among these was the Cornell University Choir, which later premiered several of Biebl's works in the United States.

Biebl's best-known piece is Ave Maria (1964), originally for unaccompanied men's voices. After the men's ensemble Chanticleer added it to their repertoire, it gained such widespread popularity that the composer prepared versions for mixed voices and for women's voices. Biebl's text combines the familiar Ave Maria with the Angelus.

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Maria,
et concepit de Spiritu sancto.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Maria dixit: Ecce ancilla Domini,
fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Et verbum caro factum est
et habitavit in nobis.
Gloria patri, gloria filio,
gloria spiritui sancto;
Jesu Christe, miserere nobis
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee;
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee;
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
And the Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us.
Glory to the Father, glory to the Son,
glory to the Holy Spirit;
Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us
now and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) began developing his musical identity while studying composition with Virko Baley in his home state at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He continued his studies with John Corigliano and David Diamond in New York City, earning a Master's Degree from the Juilliard School in 1997.  His many commissions and awards include the 2012 Grammy Award (Best Choral Performance) for the CD Light & Gold.  Whitacre, who has been called one of the most important American composers of his generation, is best-known for his choral music and music for wind ensembles. He is currently Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, in England.

Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold) is a richly glowing setting of a Latin text by Charles Anthony Silvestri (b. 1965), based on a Christmas poem by Edward Esch. Whitacre's original version for a cappella mixed voices was commissioned by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and it's success led to arrangements by the composer for men's voices, wind symphony, and string orchestra. A "virtual choir" performance on YouTube (linked below) was created by combining 243 separate videos submitted by singers from around the world, and it has had over 4 million hits. This is Esch's original English version of the text:
warm and heavy as pure gold
and angels sing softly
to the new-born babe.

შენ ხარ ვენახი [Shen khar venakhi] (Thou art a Vineyard) is a setting of a medieval Georgian hymn, harmonized by Zakhary Paliashvili (1871-1933). Paliashvili, a Georgian composer, teacher, and ethnomusicologist, is called the founder of Georgian classical music. He studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory, and is remembered primarily for his choral and vocal music, including two operas. The text, attributed to King Demetre I of Georgia (1093–1156), is a prayer in the Georgian Orthodox Church to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here is a new English translation of the text, which is sung in Georgian:
Thou art a vineyard, newly blooming.
Tender, beauteous, from Eden sprung,
A fragrant sapling by Heaven raised.
May God adorn thee: none else affords more praise.
Thou art thyself like a luminous sun.
                                                                             --English version c2013, E. Lein

Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943) has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. He likely is the most-performed American composer of choral music worldwide, and his works have been included on over 200 CDs. The National Endowment for the Arts named him an "American Choral Master" in 2006, and the following year he received the National Medal of Arts "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth." Sure on this Shining Night, the third of Lauridsen's four Nocturnes (2005),  is a setting of the 1934 poem by American author James Agee (1909-1955), made familiar by Samuel Barber's famous song.

Eric Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs are settings of poems by the composer's wife, Grammy-winning soprano Hila Plitmann (b. 1973).  The poems were written as short "postcards" intended to help Hila teach Eric Hebrew while they were students at Juilliard.  The original musical setting is for soprano, violin and piano, but the composer has made versions for several different vocal and instrumental combinations.  

1. Temuná (A Picture)
An image is graven upon my heart;
Passing between the light and darkness:
Something like silence embraces your body,
And your hair tumbles over your face.
2. Kalá kallá (Light Bride)
The gentle Bride
Is wholly mine,
And gently
She shall kiss me!
3. Laróv (Mostly)
"On the whole," called the roof to the sky,
"The distance between us is boundless;
"Yet lately, when up here those two did climb,
"But an inch remained between us."
4. Éyze shéleg! (What Snow!)
Such snow!
Like little dreams
Falling out of the sky.
5. Rakút (Tenderness)
He was tender,
She was tough--
And she tried hard to remain thus,
Though plainly for no good reason;
He brought her inside himself
And bid her rest
In the very softest place.

                                                          --English translations ©2013 by Edward Lein
Composer Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) wrote over 900 songs, and his collaborative work with different lyricists, mainly Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), pretty much defined the Broadway musical for four decades.  In 1949, Rodgers & Hammerstein premiered their Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, South Pacific, adapted from James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Tales of the South Pacific (1947).  Set on a Pacific island during the height of World War II, South Pacific tackles its central theme of racism and bigotry head on, as had Show Boat (1927), the ground-breaking musical by Hammerstein and his previous partner, composer Jerome Kern (1885-1945). The story of South Pacific centers around the romantic relationship between Nellie, a U.S Navy nurse, and Emile, a widowed French ex-patriot plantation owner. Though she loves him, Nellie rejects Emile when she discovers his deceased wife was an Islander, and that he has two mixed-race children. This Nearly Was Mine comes near the end of the musical, as Emile dejectedly reflects upon what might have been, and just before he volunteers for a dangerous military mission, with little hope of returning alive.

In addition to numerous symphonies, chamber works, masses, and solo piano music, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 songs in his short life, and he has remained unsurpassed in the ability to marry poetry with music. Even Beethoven, who apparently never met the younger composer, touted Schubert's genius when he was given some of Schubert's songs shortly before his death. Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel, Op.2, D. 118, 1814) was the first work that brought Schubert, not yet 17 years old, to the attention of Viennese music-lovers, and it still is regarded as among the finest of all German Lieder. The text, drawn from Goethe's Faust (Part 1), relays the obsessive confusion, bordering on despair, of the still innocent Gretchen after she has become infatuated with Faust, but then is seemingly deserted by him (oh, that she had been!). The motion of Schubert's piano part reflects not only the whirring of the spinning wheel, but also Gretchen's increasingly agitated emotional state.

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was a composer, organist, pianist and teacher, and the foremost French composer of his generation. Although Fauré greatly admired Wagner, he remained relatively free of  Wagner’s highly-colored influence, and instead led his own harmonic revolution by treating chords with added 7ths and 9ths as consonant and by introducing modal inflections into an essentially diatonic framework; in the process he successfully bridged the styles of Saint-Saëns (his teacher) and Ravel (his student). Fauré’s compositions are distinguished by perfectly crafted melodies floating over rich and radiant backgrounds. He is considered the greatest master of the French art-song, and his chamber music likewise has a devoted and well-deserved following.

Among Fauré's best-known works is the hauntingly beautiful Requiem in D minor, Op. 48.  Six of the work's seven movments were written and revised between 1887-1890. The earlier Libera me (Deliver me) dates from 1877, and originally was composed as a separate piece for baritone solo; it was reworked for baritone and chorus in 1890, for inclusion in the final version of Fauré's mass. Liturgically, the Libera me and In paradisum (In Paradise) are from the Burial Service, which is separate from the Requiem, or Mass for the Dead.  (The Requiem mass is more a memorial service for one or more people, although it often is used for funerals.) Regardless, both "extra" movements have been included in choral Requiems by other composers as well, and they perfectly complement Fauré's conception of redemption and repose.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
A hymn becomes you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall a vow be repaid in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer;
to you shall all flesh come.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them

Kyrie eleison;
Christe eleison;
Kyrie eleison.

Lord have mercy;
Christ have mercy;
Lord have mercy.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
grant them eternal rest.

Líbera me, Dómine, de morte ætérna,
in die illa treménda:
Quando cœli movéndi sunt et terra.
Dum véneris iudicáre sǽculum per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et tímeo, dum discússio vénerit, atque ventúra ira.
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ,
dies magna et amára valde.
Dum véneris iudicáre sǽculum per ignem.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine:
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal
on that fearful day,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery,
day of great and exceeding bitterness,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord:
and let light perpetual shine upon them.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
æternam habeas requiem.

May Angels lead you into paradise;
may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor, 
may you have eternal rest.

Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji (1927-2003) came to the United States in 1950 on scholarship to study Diplomacy at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and then moved to New York City for post-graduate work in political science. To meet expenses, he started an African drumming and dance group. It eventually grew into a 66-piece percussion orchestra that performed at Radio City Music Hall, leading to a deal with Columbia Records. Olatunji's first album, Drums of Passion (1957), became an international hit, and his career as a teacher and performing artist was cemented.

While still at Morehouse, Olatunji presented Wendell P. Whalum (1931-1987), the college choral director, with Betelehemu (Bethlehem), a Christmas carol on a Yoruba text. Now a staple of the choral repertoire, in his original arrangement for men's voices and percussion Whalum indicates that he received the Nigerian carol "via Olatunji"--consequently, the famous percussionist is sometimes incorrectly credited as "Via Olatunji." The arrangement for mixed voices and optional percussion is by Barrington Brooks.
We are glad that we have a Father to trust.
We are glad that we have a Father to rely upon.
Where was Jesus born? Where was He born?
Bethlehem, the city of wonder. That is where the Father was born for sure.
Praise, praise, praise be to Him.
We thank Thee, we thank Thee, we thank Thee for this day, Gracious Father.
Praise, praise, praise be to Thee, Merciful Father.

Although he shared credit with fellow Beatle John Lennon (1940-1980), Sir (James) Paul McCartney (b. 1942) is the actual author of Blackbird, included in The Beatles' 1968 album, The Beatles (aka The White Album). In discussing the origins of the song, McCartney has explained that the lyrics were written as a symbolic affirmation of the American Civil Rights Movement, and that the music was inspired by J.S. Bach's Bourrée in E minor, from the Suite No. 1 for Lute, BWV 996.  The arrangement for a cappella jazz choir is by baritone Gary Rosen, and dates from the 1990s.

Born in Athens, Georgia, Hall Johnson (1888-1970) began his career as a violinist, but in the 1920s he changed his focus to choral music. He was particularly interested in showcasing the African-American Spiritual, which he identified as "an art-form which was, and still is, unique in the world of music." In 1925, he formed the Hall Johnson Negro Choir, and he became famous as one the foremost arrangers of Spirituals, especially after the release of the Choir's first recording, issued by RCA Victor in 1928. In addition to concerts, Johnson and his singers were active in radio broadcasts, Broadway musical productions, and motion pictures, and in 1951, they were selected by U.S. State Dept. to represent the United States in the International Festival of Fine Arts held in Berlin, Germany.

For unaccompanied mixed voices with tenor soloist, Ain’t Got Time to Die (1955) is an original composition with both words and music by Hall Johnson.  Not surprisingly, the score instructs that it should be sung "in the style of a Spiritual."

No comments: