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Brahms Requiem & Moravec Songs of Love & War May 1 (Princeton NJ)

Location: New Jersey, USA
Choir type: Community Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
 Pro Musica performs Brahms Requiem and Songs of Love and War, May 1 in Princeton
Princeton Pro Musica will present the Brahms Requiem along with Songs of Love and War by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec on Saturday, May 1, at 8:00 p.m.  The performance will be in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.  Frances Fowler Slade, founder and Music Director, will conduct; the soloists will be Sarah Pelletier, soprano and Kelly Markgraf, baritone.  Tickets are $25 - $55 and can be purchased by calling 609-683-5122, or on line:  Tickets will also be available at the Richardson Auditorium box office on May 1, from 6:00 pm.  Pre-concert lecture at 7:00 pm by Paul Moravec.




Brahms’ German Requiem (Ein deutsches Requiem) is different from the liturgical requiem mass which is focused on prayers for the dead.  Brahms wanted to write a “human” requiem, with Biblical texts focused on comfort and peace for the living.   Brahms’ Requiem is widely regarded as his greatest composition.  Its orchestra is the largest in all of Brahms works.

Conductor Frances Fowler Slade says, “The Brahms Requiem has been my favorite work since I first sang it with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, right out of college.   This will be Princeton Pro Musica’s fifth performance of the piece in our 31 years.  I have certainly come to understand it much more deeply, and to love it even more.” 

In his Songs of Love and War, Paul Moravec has written music for letters to and from soldiers in American wars.  They include a soldier writing to his mother during the Vietnam War; a wife writing to her husband in World War II; a Marine writing to his dead comrade’s mother in World War I; and a husband writing to his wife in the Civil War. The focus of the work is on the love in the relationships. Moravec describes the music as “tonal, lyrical, and immediately comprehensible to performer and listener alike.”


Baritone Kelly Markgraf was suggested by Paul Moravec, who has worked with him at the Santa Fe Opera.  This past fall, Markgraf sang the role of Masetto in the New York City Opera’s new production. Markgraf recently completed his tenure at the Juillard Opera Center, where he sang roles in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer and Verdi’s Falstaff.  In the fall of 2008, he performed in the nationally televised all-Bernstein program, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, which opened Carnegie Hall’s season.  His honors include the Grand Prize in the Opera Index Competition, awards from the Giulio Gari Foundation and the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, and a Richard F. Gold Career Grant.

Soprano Sarah Pelletier has sung with Princeton Pro Musica on numerous occasions—most recently in the Fall, 2009 performance of Haydn’s Creation.  She has also sung with the Princeton Festival since its first year.   She has been a guest artist at Spoleto Festival USA, Bard Music Festival, and Aldeburgh Festival.   Past seasons include a solo recital on the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage; Bach’s B Minor Mass with the San Francisco Bach Choir; and Handel’s Messiah with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.   Ms. Pelletier is on the voice faculty at Princeton University.

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Paul Moravec will give a talk about the composition of Songs of Love and War at Stonebridge at Montgomery, on Monday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m.  The talk is open to the public and free of charge.  Moravec will also give a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m., at Richardson Auditorium, on the day of the concert.

Princeton Pro Musica is a 95-voice chorus with the mission of performing choral masterworks with energy, passion, and uncompromising artistic excellence.  This season, the Princeton Pro Musica chorus was selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 609-683-5122, or on line:  Tickets will also be available at the box office on May 1.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the Edward T. Cone Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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