An evening of musical genius

The first gesture I made was to open the program. What I saw pleased me. The title of the concert was "Ave Maria": Works dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. There is a great deal of literature written down through the ages to celebrate Mary, and it is especially around advent and throughout the Christmas season.. What Moreau had assembled looked to me was going to be a fascinating evening of listening to choral music, which it turned out to be.

The concert opened with two works by William Byrd(1550-1594), Tollite portas and Ave Maria and from there into two works by Giovanni Pierluigi.da Palestrina (1543-1623), Alma Redemptoris Mater and Benedixisti Domine. Two settings of the text Beata es, Virgo Maria followed, the first by Jacob Handl (ca. 1526-1594), seconded by Giovanni Gabrieli, the latter for two choirs.

They were hymns originally in English and one that was a translation of a hymn by Edvard Grieg (1843-1867). Of those pieces set to English texts, my far and away favorite is Peter Warlock's Bethlehem Down (1896-1930)..

The concert ended with three Latin motets, one each by Handl, Palestrina and Jean Mouton (ca. 1459-1522).

The concert realized the music chosen extremely well. Moreau had done an exemplary of preparation, and he seemed to know how to get the community chorus to do its very best work the for him. The Chorus in general produced clear sound because there was no excessive vibrato in any one of the sections or in any individual voices that disturbed the appropriate sounds, and by appropriate I mean appropriate to the music. Moreau possesses a baritone voice that he uses so easily that one would think that all people must be able to sing that way, which, unfortunately is not the case. This must rub off especially to the male singers, but also to the female, and I'm sure it goes a long way to giving confidence to the chorus.

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