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Graduate recital in choral conducting

While Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) worked in Leipzig as the Cantor of the St. Thomas School from 1723-1734, as a part of his duties, he composed service music for the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches. The six great motets were composed during this time and although Motet VI, Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230 is a short, two movement motet written for a single choir, it contains all of the musical richness and rhythmic complexity of the other five motets that were designed for double choir or larger forces. The text of Lobet den Herrn, aile Heiden is based on Psalm 11 7, "Praise the Lord, all ye nations, Praise Him, all ye people; For God, so gracious and righteous, watches over us evermore, Alleluia." This motet is scored for voices and continuo, and in Baroque performance practice, it is customary to have instruments doubling the voice parts. The text of Psalm 42 represents a fruitful, evocative picture which many composers over the centuries have enjoyed setting to music. "As the deer pants for water, so my soul searches for God; Tears are my only food, day and night, as I long for the house of God." Giovani Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525-1594) has composed hundreds of a cappella motets based on sacred texts. His setting, Sicut Cervus, represents an example of the four part motet style of the "High Renaissance" with long, beautiful, imitative melodic lines, each gently rising and falling, and while sounding together, creating a lush palate of harmonic suspensions and resolutions. George Kahn (b.1952) composer and pianist originally from New York, now living in Los Angeles, set Psalm 42 (1996) in a lyrical, modem style using choir, solo quartet and piano accompaniment. Through the use of mixed meters and musical interludes, Kahn highlights each line of this beautiful text with unique tonal colors and textures. This piece was originally commissioned and premiered by Cantori Domino under the direction of Maurita Phillips-Thornburgh in 1998. Herbert Howells (1892-1983) an English composer who studied and later taught at the Royal College of Music in London, also set Psalm 42, but instead, calls it by the first line of the text, "Like as the Hart." His setting (1941) for choir, soprano, and organ is composed in a more traditional, Romantic style, yet modem harmonies and rhythms permeate this piece and remind the listener that this composition is indeed from the twentieth century. Maurice Durufle (1902-1986) studied and later taught at the Paris Conservatoire, where he wrote three versions of the Requiem, Op. 9. The first two appeared in 1947 for chorus and full orchestra and the other for chorus and organ. Later, in 1961, he orchestrated the Requiem for chorus and instrumental ensemble and that is the version that will be heard as a part of this concert. The Requiem, Op. 9 is based on the traditional Mass for the Dead out of the ancient Catholic liturgy as Durufle uses the traditional Gregorian plainsong melodies throughout his nine movement work. Durufle, following the example of his countryman Faure in his 1888 setting of the Requiem text, chose not to set the Dies Irae movement, "Day of wrath." Durufle, as Faure before him, chose to concentrate more on the tender, comforting aspects of death, one which depicts man's departing from a troubled world into a world of eternal rest and peace. Durufle, like Faure, also chose to set the one solo movement, Pie Jesu, as the centerpiece of the composition, sung by a mezzo-soprano.

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