Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Hartford Chorale "Friendraiser"

On May 7, I had the privilege and pleasure to be one of several musicians from The Hartford Chorale who entertained friends of The Chorale at a lovely cocktail hour at the home of The Chorale's past-president, Dougla Pyrke. Laura Oliver, The Chorale's VP for Membership, took this great photo that appeared in The Hartford Courant on Saturday, May 10.

Here's The Courant's brief summary (corrected as to spelling, punctuation, etc.!):

HARTFORD CHORALE MUSIC DIRECTOR RICHARD COFFEY, left, is joined by tenor soloist David Grabowski, a senior at Farmington High School and intern with the Chorale, and sopranos and Chorale members Jane Scott and Sarah Johnston at the Farmington home of Dougla Pyrke and Jack Fairchild. Pyrke is past president and current board member of the Hartford Chorale. The singers provided the musical component Wednesday at a Chorale's spring cultivation event held twice annually to thank Chorale donors. Johnston, Scott and Grabowski performed works by Handel, Vivaldi, Copland and Carnelia. The Chorale performs the Beethoven Missa Solemnis with The Hartford Symphony next next week at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. For details, visit (PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA OLIVER / May 9, 2008),0,2655152.photogallery

Jane and I sang two duets with Rick at the pianoforte. Our first selection was George Frideric Handel's duet for two sopranos and continuo, Quel fior che all'alba ride. In the summer of 1741, George Frederic Handel amused himself by composing several “madrigal duets,” sprightly settings of Italian love poems. The one we sang, Quel fior che all'alba ride, is fashioned in three short movements in the fast-slow-fast style typical of instrumental sonatas and concerti, and this little gem is indeed like a small concerto for two soprano voices and continuo.

This seemed like a good selection for this event, as some months after he composed the duet, Handel used its music as the basis for two choruses in Messiah ("And he shall purify" and "His yoke is easy"). Of course, many of those in attendance had sung Messiah with The Chorale, or have enjoyed our performances as members of The Chorale's audience. It was a treat to see surprise and laughter light up their faces as they recognized this familiar music.

Our second selection was the "Laudamus te" from Vivaldi's Gloria. This music, too, is very familiar, of course, but it always feels fresh and exciting. I had a chance to sing the second soprano part for the first time. I always enjoy learning and performing music that is new to me, and it was a pleasure to hear Jane on the first part while I was enjoying the musical aspects of the second part.


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