Falmouth Chorale Showcases Artistic Growth in In Paradisum

Chorale, Chamber Singers, orchestra and soloists perform 19th and 20th century program at new venue


McGRATHPR.com – The Falmouth Chorale, led by Artistic Director John Yankee, presents In Paradisum, a “heavenly” selection of choral works from 19th and 20th century composers, on Saturday, March 10, 4 pm, and Sunday, March 11, 3 pm, at Falmouth Academy’s Simon Center for the Arts, 7 Highfield Drive, in Falmouth.

The concert includes Daniel Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata, Psalm 42 by Felix Mendelssohn, and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem.  The Chorale and its Chamber Singers will be joined by soprano Joan Kirchner, baritone Philip Lima and chamber orchestra.  A pre-concert lecture by John Murelle will be offered 45 minutes before each concert.

John Yankee has chosen the Fauré Requiem with a nod to his eleventh anniversary with the Falmouth Chorale.  The group has not presented this work since his first season and he is confident that this performance will showcase the artistic growth of the ensemble.  There is added excitement, he says, because this will be the Chorale’s first concert in the new Simon Center.

The Chorale, with soloists Joan Kirchner and Philip Lima, will perform the 1893 version of the Requiem, as edited by John Rutter.  This Requiem, one of the most beloved works in the choral repertory, is notable for its calm and gentle treatment of the end of life—creating a work of transcendent beauty.

Fauré once explained in an interview, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death.  But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”

The Artistic Director says that the choice of the Requiem triggered the idea of presenting a primarily calming and serene concert, based on the title of the final movement of the Requiem: “In Paradisum.”

In keeping with this theme, Yankee has chosen to open the program with Daniel Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata, to be sung by the Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers. Pinkham, a New Englander and one of the most prolific American composers of the 20th century, uses texts from the Song of Solomon and a variety of musical textures to celebrate the many moods of love.

The program is rounded out by Mendelssohn’s setting of the 42nd Psalm: As the Hart Longs, sung in English.  Mendelssohn had a great affinity for the poetic psalms as texts, setting nineteen as compositions.  The composer cites this cantata as his “very best sacred composition,” an assessment echoed in 1837 by fellow romanticist Robert Schumann who characterized it as “the highest point recent church music has reached.”

The Chorale’s performance of Mendelssohn’s 42nd Psalm features soprano Joan Kirchner.  One of its highlights is a ‘quintet’ with the soprano, distressed by doubt, reassured by a four-part choir of male voices in close harmony.  The work concludes as the chorus reaches heights of sublime passion, in praise of the glory of God, in counterpoint reminiscent of Handel who, along with Bach, was greatly admired by Mendelssohn.         

A native of western New York State, Joan Kirchner came to prominence as a soloist for oratorio, opera, and recital repertoire.  She engages and uplifts audiences with the beauty and clarity of her voice, her lively imagination, and her charismatic stage presence. Joan has performed with leading musical groups in the region, including Handel and Haydn Society, Toronto’s Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, the Masterworks Chorale, Chorus North Shore, the Woods Hole Cantata Consort, and the Chatham Chorale.  In addition to public performances, Joan performs for private events, serves churches throughout the Cape, and teaches voice, piano, flute, and organ at her studio in Brewster.

Originally from New Bedford, Philip Lima’s performances are regularly marked by critical praise: “His singing was glorious” (The Boston Globe); “vibrant baritone and a commanding presence” (Cleveland Plain Dealer); “keen musicianship along with total dramatic intention” (Opera News Online).  In concert, Mr. Lima has appeared as soloist with more than sixty orchestras, choral societies and concert series across the U.S.  He has also sung a wide array of leading operatic roles from both the established repertoire and world premieres.

Good friends of the Chorale, Kirchner and Lima were featured as soloists for Robert Cohen’s Alzheimer’s Stories which the Falmouth Chorale Chamber Singers shared with audiences throughout the Cape in 2017.

Tickets to In Paradisum are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $5 for students. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.falmouthchorale.org, call 774-392-2383, or follow the Chorale on Facebook.  Advance tickets paid by cash or check are also available from members of the Chorale and at LeRoux Kitchen, 208 Main Street in Falmouth, Uncle Bill’s Country Store in North Falmouth, Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons and Titcomb’s Book Shop in East Sandwich.  Support for this concert comes, in part, from a grant from the Cape Cod Melody Tent.

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 54 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.