Quotes and Testimonials
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society closed its 40th anniversary season over the weekend with a harmonic convergence of powerful music-making … The firm singing by the chorus was complemented by a sensitive solo quartet -- soprano Karla Rivera, mezzo Linda Maguire, tenor William Jones and, especially, baritone Robert Cantrell.
The choral writing is as richly textured as the baritone solos are directly communicative; the orchestration is masterful… The chorus offered clarity, sensitivity and power…Conductor Tom Hall effectively molded the enriching music.
Baltimore Choral Arts made its debut in Gilliam Concert Hall, in the Carl Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University. The assemblage for this concert was staggering. Headlining the program was Dave Brubeck and members of his legendary Quartet. They were joined by soloists Amy Pfrimmer, soprano; Mark Bieeke, tenor; and Kevin Deas, baritone. Also appearing was The Morgan State University Choir, with Dr. Eric Conway, Director. The program began with the combined singers performing the beautiful three-movement â€œMotet, Op. 29, No. 2,â€ â€œCreate in Me a Clean Heart,â€ (Psalm 51, vv 10,11,12) by Johannes Brahms, sung in the original German. The choral blend and balance was exquisite. The highpoint of the concert was the Baltimore premier of Dave Brubeck's "To Hope! A Celebration." Scored for three soloists, full chorus, orchestra and jazz quartet, the work was conducted by Russell Gloyd who has conducted the many symphonic and choral appearances of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. This composition was wonderful and, hopefully before too long, the work will be recorded.
Tom Hall led an admirably taut and involving account of the score. He ensured that the hushed opening registered deeply, making the softness as powerful as any outburst to come. And when those outbursts arrived in the Dies Irae section, Hall summoned plenty of fire and brimstone from the sizable forces onstage… The choristers held firm in pitch and tone all night, articulating Verdi's rich chords and stirring counterpoint with considerable warmth and style.
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society brought that movie and music together at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Sunday night and produced one of the season's most memorable experiences… The performance achieved a profound beauty as involving as the painful, poignant images on the screen…The chorus sang with great sensitivity and discipline.
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The voices rang out with resplendent confidence, and the sopranos had no apparent difficulty reaching the cruel and challenging high B's in the piece. The chorus's performance was the best part of the concert….the thunderous power of this unique masterpiece never fails to stir the blood, and the ovation was loud, long and well deserved.