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2019-20 Season: Choral Arts on Tour!

May 30, 2019

The 2019-2020 season may seem like an entire epoch away, but the new performance season will be upon us before you can blink twice!  For this reason, we hope you will either renew your subscription, purchase one for the first time, or pick the concerts you’ll be buying single tickets for before your preferred seats get booked up!

I can hardly contain my excitement for the coming season, the complete details of which you can find now on our website; I want to highlight a few moments that jump out to me the most. First, it is a rare opportunity to hear Mozart’s first Horn concerto in concert. Partly because it is a programmatic enigma, being both an incomplete concerto of only two movements and also being just slightly longer than an overture. Phil Munds, principal hornist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, will be the featured soloist. You will have the unique opportunity to hear Phil play on a “natural” horn, meaning that the unlike modern French horns, his horn is valve-less and the pitch is entirely derived from embouchure (formation of the lips on the mouthpiece) and hand-stopping (position of the hand inside the bell of the horn). After the early 19th century, natural horns were rarely used, so this performance experience will be an authentic and unique happening in your musical life!  On the same program is the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings by Benjamin Britten. This song cycle expertly brings the sonorities of haunting horn bellows and high registers of the tenor soloist together with mostly elegiac poetry from several English writers. Choral Arts’ good friend Steven Soph will bring these texts vividly to life, no doubt. These pieces will complement and balance Mozart’s immortal Requiem mass.

Another highlight of the season will be Monteverdi’s “1610 Vespers” in collaboration with several early music ensembles from Peabody. This circus-like, showy spectacle is one of the pillars of Baroque repertoire. As you are washed in the colorful and imaginative writing of Claudio Monteverdi, you’re effortlessly transported to San Marco’s Cathedral in Venice, where this piece has had a long history of performances.

One hidden gem is the very first piece of the season, Kodaly’s choir and organ showstopper Laudes Organi – written for the 1966 American Guild of Organists’ convention, the piece both celebrates the ancient and lauds the act of music-making. It begins with a raucous four-minute organ introduction, and then wistfully weaves music and text in a playful style of counterpoint to celebrate music itself.

Laudes Organi and the suite of American music presented in the opening concert will be the bulk of the repertoire for our United Kingdom tour, which takes us to London, Oxford, and Birmingham. The tour culminates in two performances of Mahler’s Eight Symphony, which bears the moniker of the “Symphony of a Thousand” due to its gargantuan orchestral and choral forces. These performances across the pond will undoubtedly be an extraordinary milestone in Baltimore Choral Arts’ 53-year history. Of course, you can hitch a ride and join us on our tour, but you can also see great choral and orchestral performances here in our new home of Shriver Hall Auditorium. We are ecstatic to share all this incredible music with you next season!

--Anthony Blake Clark

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Time is running out to support the music and outreach of Choral Arts this fiscal year. Please consider making your tax-deductible donation by June 30 as we plan for an exciting year "on tour." Thank you!