This program of lush choral music _ conducted under the baton of Music Director John Daly Goodwin _ "will warm and comfort the senses," as it presents Poulenc's Quatre Petites Prires de Saint Fran‹ois d'Assise and Litanies _ la Vierge Noire and Durufl_'s Requiem.
Francis Poulenc was the leading member of Les Six, a group of French composers devoted to turning music away from Impressionism, formality, and intellectualism. The Litanies _ la Vierge Noire for women's chorus and organ signaled a new phase in Poulenc's career, one marked by religious choral works of a mysterious, ethereal, and often moving nature. The work features a modal, chant-like style that avoids conventional cadences. Poulenc wrote, "the text is a plea to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity for mercy and understanding." The Quatre Petites Prires de Saint Fran‹ois d'Assise, scored for a cappella men's choir, was composed for and dedicated to the monastery choir at Champfleury; in particular the monk Frre Jerome, Poulenc's great-nephew. With the use of archaic textures of plainchant and early polyphony, along with Poulenc's harmonic colorings, this compilation of four short pieces creates a work of unique reverence and solemnity.
Maurice Durufl_ is known for a small number of extraordinary works, among which the Requiem is perhaps the finest and most often performed. An organist as well as a composer, Durufl_ originally wrote the Requiem for organ accompaniment, which is the version that New York Choral Society will perform. The "Pie Jesu" aria for mezzo-soprano _ performed at this concert by Julia Spanja Hoffert _ and the "Domine Jesu Christe" and "Libera me" for baritone voices combine with impressive choral movements to form a piece of soothing beauty. Also on the afternoon program is an arrangement of Olivier Latry's Salve Regina, performed by organist Ren_e Anne Louprette. One of the most accomplished organists of his generation, Olivier Latry is one of three titular organists at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and Professor of Organ at the Conservatoire National Sup_rieur in Paris.
NEW YORK CHORAL SOCIETY PRESENTS "VIVE LA FRANCE!"
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2010, 2:00 PM AT ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S CHURCH
John Daly Goodwin, conductor
Julia Spanja Hoffert, mezzo-soprano
Ren_e Anne Louprette, organist
FRANCIS POULENC: Quatre Petites Prires de Saint Fran‹ois d'Assise
FRANCIS POULENC: Litanies _ la Vierge Noire
MAURICE DURUFLê_: Requiem
OLIVIER LATRY: Salve Regina
Julia Spanja Hoffert, mezzo soprano Julia Spanja Hoffert is making her New York Choral Society debut as the mezzo soloist in the Durufl_ Requiem. Mrs. Spanja Hoffert has performed with the New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and with New Jersey Opera Theatre as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti. Other favorite roles performed include Siebel (Faust), Maurya (Ryders to the Sea), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), L'Enfant (L'Enfant et Les Sortileges) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni). In 2007, she performed as the soloist in Lukas Foss' The Prairie as part of the concert series An American Awakening at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. A graduate of New York University, Mrs. Spanja Hoffert was a 2005 finalist in The Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges and has been a recurring performer in the Metropolitan Opera chorus ensemble since 2007.
Ren_e Anne Louprette, organist hailed by The New York Times as "a technically nimble and dynamic organist," Ren_e Anne Louprette has established an international career as organ recitalist and choral conductor. For the past four years she has been the Associate Director of Music at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City, where she collaborates with Music Director Kent Tritle in the direction of the renowned music ministry program serving as liturgical organist, accompanist and conductor of both professional and amateur ensembles. Contributor to the artistic direction of the acclaimed Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series, she directs the N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series and performs regularly as conductor, recitalist and continuo player. She previously served as Director of Music and Organist at the Church of St. Ann in Avon, Connecticut, and the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair, New Jersey.
The New York Choral Society (NYCS), founded in 1958, has become known by audiences and critics for the quality of its performances and the diversity of its repertoire, which encompasses well-known choral masterworks as well as many compositions rarely heard in concert halls. The NYCS has presented eleven world premieres and has commissioned works by Paul Alan Levi, Morton Gould, Stephen Paulus, and Robert De Cormier.