Collaborative Choral Concert Explores Psalms on Cape Cod

PsalmSensation PosterIn a long-awaited collaboration, The Falmouth Chorale, led by Artistic Director John Yankee, and The Zamir Chorale of Boston, conducted by founder and Artistic Director Joshua R. Jacobson, present PsalmSensation, a concert featuring more than 120 singers and instrumentalists for a single performance on Sunday, March 19, 7 pm at The Lawrence School, 113 Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth.

Long a popular tradition amongst choral singers, collaborative concerts allow the vocalists to explore their stylistic interpretations through the direction of a peer conductor.  Now in their 53rd season, The Falmouth Chorale embraces this opportunity to learn from another director during Yankee’s decade-long tenure.  Jacobson eagerly anticipates complementing The Falmouth Chorale’s chosen contemporary works with Zamir Chorale’s dedication to the presentation, preservation, and perpetuation of Jewish culture.

PsalmSensation features settings of texts from the Hebrew Bible, opening with the Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 4.  Both Falmouth and Zamir together perform Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, The Last Words of David, and Boston composer Emmett Price’s Joyful Noise. The Zamir Chorale takes the stage commencing the program’s second half with contrasting settings of four Psalms. The concert will end with a blessing – where all voices join in unity to sing John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You.

“The program is delightfully diverse,” shares Yankee, “Listeners will be drawn into the concert by a gradual building of forces. Strings and woodwinds from the Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra accompany first our Chamber Singers in Handel’s compact and charming Coronation No. 4, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.  The full Chorale takes the stage to sing the beautiful and calming opening movement of Mendelssohn’s setting of Psalm 42, As the Hart Longs. Zamir Chorale, along with piano, harp, and percussion, then join us for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.”  Yankee thoughtfully mentions that it has been particularly valuable to be able to study and discuss the score with Jacobson, who “clearly knows the work inside out! This is my first experience conducting this thrilling and challenging piece, and we are very fortunate to perform it with Zamir.”

“We’ve selected a program rich in variety and depth, while staying true to Jewish traditions,” informs Jacobson.  “Although Rossi is recognized for his 17th century Italian madrigals and sonatas, he also produced 33 beautiful Baroque settings of synagogue liturgy texts, unheard of again for two centuries.”  Offering contrasting styles, Zamir’s portion of the program features several settings of Psalm 150, with British synagogue composer Julius Mombach’s dignified and majestic Hallelujah juxtaposed with contemporary composer Benjie Ellen Schiller’s Halleuhu, accompanied by the Middle Eastern doumbek hand drum. The set finishes with young composer Jeremiah Klarman’s work Hallel Shir Va’Or, a composition commissioned by Zamir in the last decade.  The two movements offer a captivating blend of classical and popular styles, including jazz and pop.

“Sharing a concert with Zamir is a true milestone for The Falmouth Chorale,” spoken proudly by Yankee.  “Our hard work has earned us so much growth and many accomplishments.  I’m thrilled to collaborate with such a renowned ensemble and director. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our Co-President Andy Garber, who made the suggestion and forged the connection well over a year ago.”

As a frequent guest conductor, Jacobson enjoys bringing a new approach to music for other singers.  “Zamir collaborations extend the singing musician’s point of view.  It is a pleasure to bring this opportunity to Cape Cod.”

As a world authority on Jewish choral music, Jacobson also presents an illustrated concert companion lecture PsalmSensation: 3000 Years of Joyous Sacred Song on Tuesday, March 14, 10:30 am at Falmouth Jewish Congregation’s Blanche & Joel D. Seifer Community Center, 7 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth.  He’ll explore the question of the Psalms having originally been performed in ancient Israel, and provide a preview and fascinating backstories to several pieces featured in the PsalmSensation concert, performed the following Sunday.  The event is open to the public, with a suggestion donation of $5 to $10 gratefully accepted at the door.

Tickets are $25 for adults in advance, $30 at the door, student tickets are $5. To order tickets or for more information, visit falmouthchorale.org, call 774-392-2383, or visit us on Facebook.

Program:

Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers :  George Frideric Handel:  Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened (Psalm 89:13-14)

The Falmouth Chorale: Felix Mendelssohn:  As the Hart Longs, 1st movement (Psalm 42)

Tutti:  Leonard Bernstein:  Chichester Psalms (Psalms 108:2, 100; 23, 2:1-4; 131, 133:1)

The Zamir Chorale:  Benjie Ellen Schiller:  Halleluhu (Psalm 150)

Salamone Rossi:  Shir Lama’a lot (Psalm 121)

Julius Mombach:  Hallelujah (Psalm 150)

Jeremiah Klarman:  Hallel Shir Va’Or (Psalms 27, 150)

Tutti: Randall Thompson: Last Words of David (2 Samuel, 23:3-4)

Ernani Aguiar: Salmo 150

Emmett Price III: Joyful Noise of Praise (Psalms 8:10; 27:1, 5, 4; 118:24)

John Rutter: The Lord Bless You and Keep You (Numbers 6:24)

Featured Instrumentalists:

String and wind ensemble musicians are members of the Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra, under the direction of John Yankee

Katie Koglin, harp

Mark Prall, percussion

Stephanie Weaver, piano

Taki Masuko, percussion

Edwin Swanborn, piano

About The Falmouth Chorale

The mission of The Falmouth Chorale is to share with our audiences the joy of singing and to communicate with passion the marvelous and varied choral music that has been created over the centuries. Celebrating 53 years of performing choral music for audiences on the Upper Cape, the Falmouth Chorale has enjoyed membership of nearly 1000 passionate singers over its existence. Today, Artistic Director John Yankee leads the 65-voice ensemble. Fifteen members sing in the select Chamber Singers for community and private events.  For more information, visit falmouthchorale.org, call 774-392-2383, or visit us on Facebook.

The Zamir Chorale of Boston

Falmouth Chorale LogoPerforming on concert stages throughout North America, Europe, and Israel, the award-winning Zamir Chorale of Boston awakens audiences to the exotic rhythms of the Middle East to the majestic anthems of 19th-century European synagogues, from the romances of Spain to the chants of Yemen, and from contemporary American jazz to the much-loved Yiddish tunes of Jewish musical theater.  Founded in 1969 by Joshua Jacobson, one of the world’s leading authorities on Jewish choral music, the Zamir Chorale of Boston’s “music with a mission” brings the joy of Jewish music to audiences that transcend age, religious and ethnic background. For additional information, visit zamir.org or email manager@zamir.org.