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Choral Art Society of N.J. January 26, 2012 Concert

Location: New Jersey, USA
Choir type: Community Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
The Choral Art Society of New Jersey presents its annual Winter Concert on Saturday, January 26, 2013, 8:00 PM, at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, located at the corner of Mountain Avenue and East Broad StreetThis concert marks a special season for the Choral Art Society; not only is  the group’s new Music Director, Martin Sedek, conducting the ensemble in performance for the first time, but the program consists of works the group has never before presented in its 50 year history.  In fact, the Choral Art Society will be giving the North Jersey premiere of the program’s centerpiece, Bob Chilcott’s exciting Requiem, a new setting of this mass for chorus, two soloists, and orchestra.  The soloists are Valerie Bernhardt, Soprano and Alex Wang, Tenor.   Ms. Bernhardt has sung at Carnegie Hall with the St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera and been on the roster at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Mr. Wang has sung at Radio City Music Hall and Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan.
This new masterpiece, premiered just in 2010, will be juxtaposed with Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C (Sparrow Mass), offering the listener the chance to hear treatments of two similar sacred texts by master composers more than two centuries apart.  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
Bob Chilcott (of the UK’s King’s Singers fame) has become one of the biggest names in contemporary choral composition and has written a gorgeous new setting of the traditional Requiem text, adding a movement from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.  Regarding the work, Chilcott remarks that he was initially “terrified by the idea” of writing a work with such a weight of history behind it, but he has certainly risen to the challenge: his Requiem is characterized by a gentle, forgiving atmosphere, with a subtle hearkening to Fauré’s Requiem, featuring reflective and stunning moments for the Soprano and Tenor soloists to shine.
This exciting work is paired with one of Mozart’s magnificent, albeit lesser-known works.  Mozart wrote a series of five settings of the Missa Brevis in C major.  Scholars and historians believe he did this as a compositional challenge to himself; a test of his own prowess to create multiple settings of the same text, in the same key, and have each one be unique and special.  It is referred to as the “Sparrow Mass” because of the resemblance of the violins’ musical motifs to bird calls.  This rarely performed masterpiece has moments of excitement, haunting beauty, and dancing merriment, all within an air of classical elegance.
The program will also feature two exciting and joyful choruses by G.F Handel, Hallelujah, Amen from Judas Maccabeus and O Praise the Lord with One Consent from his Chandos Anthem No. 9.  These robust, baroque-era works will open a program that is sure to please any music lover.
The Choral Art Society, a staple of the greater Westfield community for half a century, is an avocational group of passionate volunteers and lovers of singing which presents choral masterworks twice a year, usually at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield.  The approximately 50 member
Chorus, joined by an orchestra and top-notch soloists, gives our community the exciting opportunity to come and experience live music making at its finest, as well as the chance to hear exquisite masterworks. The Choral Art Society encourages everyone to come out and share a fantastic evening of music and support these exciting works, both new and old, and the incredible vocal and instrumental talent that will be on display. 

The ensemble is entering an exciting new phase, first with the appointment of its new Music Director, Martin Sedek, an award-winning composer, conductor, and Professor of Music Theory and Choral Studies at Montclair State University, and with its developing partnership with local universities. The group aims to provide university-level music students the opportunity to perform with the ensemble under the direction of Mr. Sedek, providing invaluable performing experience for the next generation of professional musicians.  In addition to supporting and nurturing young talent, the group is also beginning to break new ground in the performance of contemporary works along with the masterworks we all know and love.    
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.
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