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Choral Art Society of NJ - Mendelssohn: Paulus

Location: New Jersey, USA
Choir type: Community Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
The Choral Art Society of New Jersey, celebrating its 50th Season, will be performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Oratorio, Paulus (St. Paul), Op. 36, on Saturday, January 21, 2012, 8:00 PM at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield located at the corner of Mountain Avenue and East Broad Street.  A pre-concert lecture will be given by Dr. John Sichel at 7:00 P.M.
 
James S. Little, Musical Director of the Society, will conduct the evening’s performance.   Soloists are Ellen Goff Entriken, soprano; Angelika Nair, mezzo-soprano; David Kellett, tenor and Andrew Martens, bass.  The Choral Art Society Orchestra will accompany the chorus.  Admission is $20, $15 for seniors and students, at the door. 
For information call 908-654-5737 or visit our web site www.thechoralartsocietyofnj.org
 
Our pre-concert lecturer, Dr. Sichel, studied at the Yale School of Music, where his teachers included Jacob Druckman, Nicholas Maw and Martin Bresnick, and from which he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1990. He is a lifelong resident of New Jersey, and currently lives there with his wife and two sons. He teaches theory, composition, piano, music history and rock-and-roll history at Raritan Valley Community College and is the curator of the A. Louis Scarmolin Trust.  He will be talking about Mehdelsshon and Paulus.
 
The first of Mendelssohn’s two oratorios, Paulus is rarely performed in its entirety today, but during the composer’s lifetime it was heard often. And no wonder: Like Elijah, which was written 10 years later and has eclipsed Paulus in popularity, the work is full of beautiful melodies, drama, and the highest level of musical craftsmanship. Chorus and soloists—in a series of  choruses, recitatives and arias—and the orchestra all have a vital role in recounting the story of the conversion of Paul from Judaism to Christianity, as told in the New Testament, from which the text is largely drawn. Part One begins with several introductory movements, followed by the stoning of St. Stephen (the first Christian martyr) and Paul’s conversion and baptism. Part Two follows the ministry of Paul and the apostle Barnabas and includes Paul’s persecution by his former coreligionists and his healing of the lame man of Lystra, with a final chorus based on Psalm 103.
 
Evident throughout Paulus is Mendelssohn’s admiration for Handel as well as Bach, whose music was virtually unknown in the 19th century until Mendelssohn conducted a public performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1829, igniting Bach’s rediscovery.
 
Mr. Little has been the Director of the Choral Art Society of New Jersey since the Spring of 1999.  He is organist and choirmaster of Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit since 1993, where he directs a program of youth and adult choirs, a hand-bell choir and a concert series by the Calvary Chorale and guest ensembles and soloists.   Mr. Little received an M.M. in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College where he studied organ with Eugene Roan and choral conducting with Melanie Jacobsen and Joseph Flummenfelt.  He has performed organ recitals in New Jersey, New York City and New England and is widely known as an accompanist throughout northern and central New Jersey.  He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Guild of English Hand-bell Ringers and the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity
 
Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and for this 50th Anniversary performance has been made possible by a grant provided by the Westfield Foundation.
 
 
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