Resounding triumph of sound and musicality
Last night it was hard to imagine a more splendidly rich and yet softly beautiful sound filling Carnegie Hall than the combined forces of the orchestra, the Canterbury choir on the great stage and the ranks of the many school children filling two levels of the fabled hall above the heads of the parquet audience as they played and sang the first part of Mahler’s tremendous Eighth, yet the two major works which bookended the first section of this most huge and renowned of Mahler’s works in this extraordinary concert were perhaps the most pleasing of the evening, namely the premiere of Rollo Dilworth’s Bound For Glory, a set of works based on folk songs and the most famous spirituals of his African-American heritage, featuring his superb orchestration of This Train is Bound for Glory and four other works which proved Dilworth’s amazing grace in substituting classical music’s expansive armory of violins, brass and timpani and a massed choir for the more basic instruments and small human congregations that gave them birth, revealing how they ranked with the greatest music in any form, and then after the intermission the long finale of the evening was the second part of the Eighth, Mahler’s scoring of the final scene from Goethe’s Faust, Part II, an abridgment which is still huge in power and length and yet which like Rollo Dilworth’s masterwork also spoke to the ear and heart more convincingly than the at times overly dramatic first part of the Eighth, completing Mahler’s seminal masterpiece whose premiere was the high point of his career, featuring a quieter and more accessible appeal possibly because Mahler was the greatest opera conductor of his day, and also perhaps because it is generally less demanding of the soloists in the upper register, and possibly also because conductor Jonathan de Vries seemed to have had the vast numbers of soloists, instrumentalists and voices high and low in hand more completely than in the great but very demanding first part of the symphony, but whatever the reasons for any differences certainly the upshot was that all three works made for what has to be one of the most stirring, interesting and satisfying evenings that the great acoustics of the hall have served for some time. – AL
CANTERBURY CELEBRATES 65 TH ANNIVERSARY WITH PERFORMANCE OF MAHLER’S EIGHTH SYMPHONY AND WORLD PREMIERE OF WORK BY ROLLO DILWORTH – 550 SINGERS INCLUDING 300 CHILDREN WILL PERFORM
For the first time in its 65-year history, Canterbury Choral Society, under the baton of conductor Jonathan De Vries, has commissioned a new choral work by a prominent American contemporary composer, Rollo Dilworth.
On November 18, 2017 at 7pm Canterbury Choral Society and Monmouth Civic Chorus will perform Gustav Mahler’s magnificent Eighth Symphony in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall in New York. They will be joined by over 300 children from 9 schools and churches in the City.
In addition, composer Rollo Dilworth has written a choral piece, “Bound for Glory”especially for the occasion.
“This is a five-movement work that celebrates the influences of African musicaltraditions on Am erican folk tunes, European melodies and the African America spiritual. These genres of music communicate the common themes of faith, hope and perseverance,” says Dilworth.
Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, known as “The Symphony of a Thousand”, requires elaborate staging and a double adult chorus. The children provide the angelic “heavenly” voices.
“Canterbury has a long history of children singing in choral concerts. We commissioned Rollo Dilworth’s work to commemorate that tradition” says Conductor Jonathan De Vries. “The idea of a Faustian journey of redemption is where this concept first began. The feeling of a heavenly journey in both Mahler and Dilworth’s work is exciting to consider. “
Soloists participating are: Angela Fout, Jennifer Grimaldi and Jolle Greenleaf, Sopra nos, Fredrika Brillembourg and Sara Murphy, Mezzo-Sopranos; John Matthew Myers, Tenor, Sidney Outlaw, Bass-Baritone and Matthew Anchel, Bass.
A 300-voice children’s choir will join in the performance. Young choristers from five New York area schools, and youth choral groups from four churches will sing. The schools include Brearley, Spence, St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s, Trevor Day, Kaufman Music Center; the churches are the Church of the Heavenly Rest, St. Bartholomew’s, Trinity Church Wall Street, and New Amsterdam Boys and Girls Choir in New York City.
Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is in two movements. The first is a setting of the 9 th Century Latin hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. The second movement is sung in German and is taken from Goethe’s Faust Part Two, published posthumously in 1832.
Almost all of the Eighth Symphony was created by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler in the summer of 1906. Inspiration came to him quite suddenly in his studio. “It was a vision that struck me like lightning—-the whole immediately before my eyes. I had only to write it down, as though it has just been dictated to me,” he wrote. Mahler not only composed new music for the medieval hymn, but conceived of the conceptual link to Goethe’s Faust, joining the texts together in an innovative symphony that borrowed elements from sacred oratorio and dramatic opera.
Tickets for Canterbury Choral Society’s performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony are now on sale at the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, at www.carnegiehall.org , or by calling Carnegie Charge at 212-247- 7800. Prices range from $35 to $100.