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“Strike the harp and join the chorus…”
In December the Washington Master Chorale (WMC) will present a pair of festive holiday concerts spanning musical gems from the Baroque period to the present. The centerpiece of the concerts will feature the world premiere of Donald J. McCullough’s When Christ Was Born, an atmospheric setting of eight Middle-English carol texts scored for mixed chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, with harp accompaniment. A celebrated conductor and composer, McCullough, was the composer of last season’s acclaimed The Eye Begins to See, which received its world premiere with the Chorale in March, 2013. The Chorale then will pay tribute to two European masters of the choral art form with Francis Poulenc’s evocative settings of the poetry of Paul Eluard, Soir de Neige, written in 1944 and Herbert Howells’s beseeching plea for peace, the carol-anthem Long, Long Ago, composed in 1950 and based on a poem by John Buxton written when the latter was a Prisoner of War in 1940. A second Howells work, A Spotless Rose, features the Chorale performing an exemplar of the carol anthem genre.
These delightfully eclectic concerts will also feature debut performances by WMC’s assistant conductors Rachel Carlson and C. Paul Heins. Carlson will lead the Chorale in a trio of pieces that displays its virtuosity: “Hodie” from Poulenc’s Quatre Motets Pour le Temps de Noel, Josef Rheinberger’s “Abendleid” Op. 69 no. 3 and the venerable Sussex carol arranged by David Willcocks. And Heins will present three selections from Stephen Paulus’s Jesu Carols for harp and chorus.
Finally, get out your pitch pipes and commence vocalizing now so you can be ready for our popular carol sing-along!. We look forward to hearing your voices join with ours in filling the halls and ushering in the season of light and goodwill.
Visit our website for more information: http://www.washingtonmasterchorale.org
Founded in October 2009, the Washington Master Chorale is a semiprofessional chorus in Washington, D.C., that seeks to advance American choral excellence by combining professional artistry with the written word, and to contribute new American works to the choral canon by facilitating the creation of new high-caliber choral works. The Chorale holds itself to the highest standards of music-making by combining the efforts of professional singers with those of rigorously selected volunteers.
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