Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra harpist Barbara Dechario will perform during the Dec. 4 joint concert.
GENESEO, N.Y. - A joint concert by the Geneseo Chamber Singers, Spectrum Women's Ensemble and Geneseo String Band will feature masterworks by Benjamin Britten and J.S. Bach at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 in Wadsworth Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.
The Chamber Singers and Spectrum are both directed by Gerard Floriano, professor of conducting at Geneseo. Spectrum will perform Benjamin Britten's beloved "Ceremony of Carols," featuring Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra harpist Barbara Dechario.
Britten composed the work on a perilous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean during the height of World War II in 1942. Making use of only three treble voice parts and harp, Britten created sonorities that, though reassuringly familiar now, were unprecedented then. The published score calls for boys (trebles), although the earliest sketches suggest a preference for women's voices, and Spectrum Women's Ensemble is happy to oblige. Britten's decision of the harp for accompaniment may have been the result of his bringing along for the long voyage a couple of how-to manuals on harp composition to help him get started on a newly commissioned harp concerto.
"It is one of the happy ironies of art that such a dangerous and dark time should produce a work of such optimism and joy," said Floriano.
The other major work on the program will be Bach's baroque, virtuosic masterpiece, "The Magnificat." Accompanied by chamber orchestra, members of the Geneseo Chamber Singers will perform the solo movements. The work opens with an ebullient orchestral introduction featuring heraldic trumpets and timpani drums, which sets the scene for elegant arias, rousing choruses and expressive solo ensembles.
Also on the program is Brahms' "Four Songs for Women's Choir and 2 Horns and Harp" as well as traditional music of the season performed by the Geneseo String Band, under the direction of Lecturer of Music Jim Kimball.
Additional information about the concert is available by calling 585-245-5824.
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