THE ENTERPRISE – The Falmouth Chorale, led by artistic director John Yankee, will perform in collaboration with The Zamir Chorale of Boston, conducted by founder and artistic director Joshua R. Jacobson, Sunday, March 19, at 7 PM at Lawrence School in Falmouth.
The concert, “PsalmSensation,” will feature more than 120 singers and instrumentalists.
Long a popular tradition among choral singers, collaborative concerts allow the vocalists to explore their stylistic interpretations through the direction of a peer conductor. Now in its 53rd season, the Falmouth Chorale is embracing this opportunity to learn from another director during Mr. Yankee’s decade-long tenure.
The award-winning Zamir Chorale of Boston has performed on concert stages throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. The chorale has performed everything from the exotic rhythms of the Middle East to the majestic anthems of 19th-century European synagogues, romances of Spain, chants of Yemen, contemporary American jazz, and much-loved Yiddish tunes of Jewish musical theater. The chorale was founded in 1969 by Mr. Jacobson, who is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Jewish choral music.
“PsalmSensation” will feature settings of texts from the Hebrew Bible, opening with the Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers’ performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 4. The chorales together will perform Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” “The Last Words of David,” and Boston composer Emmett Price’s “Joyful Noise.”
The Zamir Chorale will take the stage in 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, according to Mr. Yankee, who feels listeners will be drawn into the concert by a gradual building of forces. Strings and woodwinds from the Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra will accompany the groups’ chamber singers in Handel’s “Coronation No. 4, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.” The full Falmouth Chorale will perform the opening movement of Mendelssohn’s setting of “Psalm 42, As the Hart Longs.”
Mr. Yankee said he appreciates that he will be performing Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” with the Zamir Chorale and Mr. Jacobson, as this is his first experience conducting the piece.
Mr. Jacobson described the program as rich in variety and depth while staying true to Jewish traditions.
Offering contrasting styles, the Zamir Chorale’s portion of the program will feature several settings of Psalm 150, with British synagogue composer Julius Mombach’s “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 the Zamir Chorale in the last decade. The two movements offer a blend of classical and popular styles, including jazz and pop.
Mr. Jacobson is a frequent guest conductor and a world authority on Jewish choral music. He will present an illustrated concert-companion lecture, “PsalmSensation: 3000 Years of Joyous Sacred Song,” Tuesday, March 14, at 10:30 AM at the Falmouth Jewish Congregation’s Blanche & Joel D. Seifer Community Center, 7 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth.
During the talk Mr. Jacobson will explore the question of the psalms having originally been performed in ancient Israel, and provide a preview and backstory to several pieces featured in the “PsalmSensation” concert. The event is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 to $10 accepted at the door.