Holiday Prelude Concert
Fall 2010 Concert Notes
Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joe Jacovino, Accompanist
Connecticut Master Chorale Holiday Brass and Steel
Gloria in Excelsis Deo - Mark Hayes
Opening our program with exuberance, this energetic setting proclaims ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ with majestic fanfare and expressive choral lines. Mark Hayes blends portions of the traditional Latin with his own text to declare the glorious message that the angels sang on that first Christmas night.
I Will Give Thanks - Bruce Greer, arr. Brent Chambers
This powerful arrangement of Bruce Greer’s popular hymn Be Exalted, O God also incorporates the traditional favorite Now Thank We All Our God, creating an exultant song of grateful praise to celebrate Thanksgiving.
New Year - John Rutter
Composed in celebration of the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, this gentle piece was first performed in her presence on New Year’s Eve 2006. With the warm lyricism that is characteristic of Rutter’s music, this lovely, peaceful carol offers a simple message of hope and new beginnings in the coming year.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel! - Jeffrey Smith
This familiar ancient text was translated from Latin in the mid-19th century by John Mason Neale, an English priest and scholar who was the first to translate many Latin and Greek religious texts into English. Jeffrey A. Smith has created a unique Israeli folk dance-like setting with a glittering clarinet part, anticipating the joyful coming of the Messiah.
Stars I Shall Find - Victor Johnson
This masterful setting of Sara Teasdale's picturesque poem for men’s voices sparkles with wonderful musical imagery. Soaring melodic lines, an artfully crafted accompaniment, contrasting dynamics, and warm, colorful harmonies create a magical effect.
Carol of the Birds - French carol, arr. Craig Courtney
As the sounds of calling birds are evoked in the remarkable piano accompaniment, birds rush to bring their music to the newborn king on that holy night in Bethlehem. This traditional French carol carries a message of peace and joy wrapped in expressive choral lines.
Hush-A-Ba, Birdie - arr. Lee Kesselman
From the mid-19th century, this absolutely beautiful a cappella lullaby takes us back in time to the Scottish lowlands and a mother singing her baby to sleep with vivid descriptions of life in the surrounding countryside.
Awake, Arise, and Hail the Morn - Mack Wilberg
This tune is found in the 1870 edition of The Sacred Harp, which used a shape note form of notation for a cappella singing in which the human voice is the ‘harp’. Dr. Mack Wilberg, the talented conductor and arranger of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has created a masterful brass accompaniment for his arrangement of this compelling work.
A Christmas Fantasy - Gordon Langford
This exceptional medley of traditional and lesser-known carols truly embraces the holiday spirit. Everyone will recognize the familiar favorites “Angels From the Realms of Glory”, “Ding, Dong Merrily on High”, and “The First Noel”, but Gordon Langford has also included “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” set to the tune of ‘Noel’ by Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame), “In Dulci Jubilo” with a German melody and a macaronic text in Latin and English, and “Unto Us a Child Is Born” with a Latin tune from Piae Cantiones 1582. With superb vocal harmonies and dramatic orchestration, the work opens with exultant 'glorias' and builds to triumphant 'noels' that are filled with the joy and anticipation of the holiday season.
Tell Us 'Bout a Baby - Joel Raney
John Parker’s inspired text asks over and over again for the story about the baby born in Bethlehem. Joel Raney’s stirring up-tempo music builds excitement in this freshly minted contemporary spiritual in 1940's swing style.
Born on a New Day - John David & Philip Lawson, arr. Peter Knight
This touching carol was created when Philip Lawson, who sings baritone in and is also the main arranger of The King’s Singers, wrote a Christmas text to John David’s song “You Are the New Day”. Peter Knight’s lovely a cappella arrangement completes the transformation into a new Christmas classic that was selected by John Rutter as one of the best new carols of the past 20 years.
The Light Will Come - David Angerman & Joseph Martin (with steel drums)
Steel drums are always a hit at our holiday concerts and this appealing carol with Caribbean island flavor brings an inspiring message of hope and peace to come.
Cantemos a Maria - arr. Juan-Tony Guzman (with steel drums)
Steel drums are once again highlighted as the singers proclaim “Let’s Sing to Mary” to a merengue beat. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Dr. Juan-Tony Guzman, a music professor at Luther College in Iowa, has created this compelling arrangement of a classic carol from his native county.
Kings Came Riding - Kevin Stannard
The journey of the three wise men is told in this unusual carol with lyrics by Charles Williams, Robert Graves, and Selwyn Image. Kevin Stannard’s imaginative setting in jazz-waltz rhythm (à la Brubeck) enhances the fanciful descriptions of their travels as they search for the redeemer.
Beautiful December - Amy F. Bernon
Wonderful images of nature fill this original lullaby that describes the beauty of winter. Local composer Amy Bernon’s expressive lyrics and tranquil melody provide a welcome moment of peaceful reflection.
Light One Candle - Peter Yarrow, arr. Robert Decormier
The ancient story of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, was Peter Yarrow’s inspiration for this iconic work that was written in 1983 and made popular by the folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary – Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and the late Mary Travers.
Testify! (with Go Tell It on the Mountain) - Dottie Peoples
This rousing gospel number by African-American traditional gospel singer and songwriter Dottie Peoples combines her composition Testify! with Go, Tell It on the Mountain and Look What the Lord Has Done to create a new and exhilarating rendition of a gospel classic with driving rhythmic excitement straight through to its jubilant conclusion.