Chorale SM Easter Concert

Saturday, April 11, 2-4:30pm
Capilla de la Tercera Orden
$300 (choir loft), $500 (ground floor), $700 (VIP seating)

Chorale SM Easter Concert

Johann Sebastian Bach left behind well over a thousand compositions, and around one-fifth of his output consisted of cantatas — choral works on religious and secular themes, usually requiring vocal soloists, a four-part choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), and orchestra. Bach's cantatas are some of the greatest choral works ever composed, and many have enough stirring narrative drive to resemble miniature operas. Bach's 1707 Easter cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden ("Christ lay in the snares of death") is a prime example. Bach specialist John Eliot Gardner calls it a "fiery, dramatic" work, and "a bold, innovative piece of musical drama".

The cantata is a centerpiece of Chorale San Miguel's Easter Concert, being held twice (2:00 pm and 4:30 pm) on Saturday, April 11, in the Capilla de Tercera Orden, the magnificent chapel adjoining the San Francisco Church. Malcolm Halliday, the conductor and music director, has programmed another work of J.S. Bach, the Harpischord Concerto in D minor, for which Halliday will be keyboard soloist.

Two other compositions on the program will be performed a capella, a musical term meaning without instrumental accompaniment, from the Italian for "as in the chapel," a form especially appropriate for the chosen concert venue. The first of those works is Sicut Cervus by Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Palestrina, a four-part motet considered a model of Renaissance polyphony. The other is Totus Tuus, a work for unaccompanied mixed choir written in 1987 by Polish composer Henryk Górecki, to celebrate Pope John Paul II's third pilgrimage to Poland. Totus Tuus is crafted in a homophonic style that the composer would later employ in his immensely popular Symphony No. 3.

The final work on the program, for chorus with instrumental accompaniment, is Luminous Night of the Soul, a lovely, ethereal new work by Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo (pronounced YAY-lo), with a text in English.

Last November and December, Chorale San Miguel performed Mozart's Requiem and Handel's Messiah to sold-out audiences.

Reserved-seat tickets for the Easter Concert are 750 pesos for VIP seating, 500 pesos for the ground floor, and 300 pesos for the choir loft. Tickets for those reserved seats can be obtained online by clicking either of the "Buy Tickets Online" buttons in this email newsletter; or at boletocity.com; or in person at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm.

Ticket buyers are advised that the less-expensive choir loft seats feature magnificent acoustics, but require a climb up a steep staircase. Because demand for tickets exceeded availability for Chorale San Miguel's presentations of the Requiem and Messiah, additional seats for the Easter Concert, for 300 pesos in a side section of the chapel, will be sold only at the door.

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