ARTS ARE ALIVE:Chorus and brass successfully play some 'heavy' music

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Choral Society offered June 1 a most unusual concert at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, featuring the chorus of 50 and the Los Alamos Brass of three trumpets, three trombones, timpani and a tuba in the sprightly opening number. The latter was a “Fanfare for Brass” (2007) by the director Dr. M.L. Place Badarack.

This was a heavy program, with unusual works throughout. Attendance was lower than usual, but the music was very well received by those attending.

The next group was “Three Graduals,” by Anton Bruckner: “Locus iste,” “Christus factus est,” and “Os justi.” for the chorus alone. The more often I hear short works by Bruckner, the more impressed I am by the solidity of the compositions, and these certainly qualified. (The Desert Chorale performed some in past concerts.) These were gems, and hard work for the chorus, but well done.

Next, were three motets from Sacrae Symphoniae (1597), by Giovanni Gabrieli: “Angelus Dominus,” “Canzona Septimus Toni, No. 2” for brass choir, and “Hoc tegitur.” The brass was arranged in two groups widely separated at the sides of the chorus, to very good effect, the “Gabrieli Sound” being well displayed.

Concluding the first part of the concert was a major motet by Brahms, “Warum is das Lichtgegeben, Op. 74, No. 1,” accompanied by Cindy Little at the piano. The piece was another heavy work that was well performed.

After the intermission, we heard another composition by Dr. Badarack, “Explorers” (2002), with a rippling accompaniment by piano, and an unusual text by T. S. Eliot, from Part V “Little Gidding” of the Four Quartets.

The next number was a chorale from Cantata No. 118 by J.S. Bach, “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht” with organ brilliantly played by Frances Meier and with two obbligati trumpets located near the organ. Quite a treat!

The major piece of the afternoon was “Gloria” (1974) by John Rutter, in three parts: “Gloria in excelsis Deo, Domine Deus, and Quoniam tu solus altissimus.” This was for full brass (adapted by Jerry Morzinsky), timpani, and organ. What a blast! It was very stimulating and rewarding.

The Choral Society will perform the “Magnificat” of J. S. Bach in January 2009 and two masses by Haydn in the spring, the “Kleine Orgelmesse” and the “Harmoniemesse in B-flat.”