The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Community Chorus will present “There Let the Pealing Organ Blow …,” a concert of English liturgical music, starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 in St. John's Chapel.
Featured pieces by British composers for choir and organ, such as Parry's “I was Glad When they Said Unto Me,” and Gardiner's lovely “Evening Hymn” will be presented.
In addition, the concert will feature pieces written for royal occasions, including “The Prayer of St. Francis,” written by Sebastian Temple for the funeral service of Princess Dianna in 1997; and the fanfare from “The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune,” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, written for the coronation service of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The highlight of the concert will be Benjamin Britten's “Rejoice in the Lamb,” a staple of 20th Century choral literature and a tour-de-force for the ensemble. The text, written by Christopher Smart, an 18th-century poet of dubious mental stability, seeks to praise God through all beings, including the author's pet cat, the ensuing mouse, flowers in a meadow, and even letters of the alphabet. Included in the cantata are some of the finest passages Britten set to music, including the rhyming instruments and listing of Old Testament heroes for the chorus and organ.
“The ensemble sounds excellent on this music,” says Brian Russell, director of the Colleges Community Chorus. “The British enjoy an fine tradition of choral music, one that the Community Chorus has really taken to in our preparation for this concert. The wonderful organ in the Chapel — combined with the glorious sounds of the Chorus — will be a treat to all ears.”
Playing the chapel organ that evening will be Paul Frolick, director of music and Organist at Christ Church Episcopal in Pittsford, N.Y. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he is well known as a choral director and organist, and widely sought after as an accompanist, playing for the Eastman Choral Conducting Workshop and the summer choral series, Eastman Summer Sings.
The concert is free and open to the public.