An informal newsletter of the LMU Choruses
Late Spring 2015
50 Years of Choral Excellence
Fifty years ago, the Choruses of the recently-established, co-educational Loyola Marymount University assembled to begin a glorious tradition. For all of us singers, the Spring Chorale has marked the culmination of hard work throughout each academic year of vocal training, performing on our campus, and touring both nationwide and abroad. To celebrate this Golden Jubilee, the present members of the LMU Choruses are preparing an exceptional Spring Chorale to perform on Friday evening, May 1st. Please be sure to join us!
50th Annual Spring Chorale
8:00 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2015
LMU Sacred Heart Chapel
Front Nave $20 Regular
$18 Students or
Middle & $18 Regular
Rear Nave $15 Students or Senior Citizens
For more information, or to reserve tickets, please contact:
Cleo Huang (310) 619-1639
Dr. Mary Breden (310) 338-5154
LMU ticket office www.lmucfa.com
Consort Singers1 Women’s Chorus2 Concert Choir3 Combined Choirs4
During the first half of our concert, we will share with audiences a selection of our favorite short works, which we plan to perform on a concert tour in France this June.
Opening and closing this portion of the evening, respectively, will be two joyous selections conveying unrestrained praise of God. Sing Unto the Lord4 was arranged by Bob Burroughs, a composer and arranger of church music from the American Southeast. With text taken from Psalm 96, it will be performed a capella. In contrast, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ O Clap Your Hands4 takes on a more proper, British manner of expressing joy. Organ accom-paniment will add to its festive ambience.
In between, compare and contrast the Salve Regina1 of Alfred Desenclos with the Ubi Caritas 4and Tota pulcra es2of Maurice Duruflé, both 20th century French composers. Desenclos was a self-described “romantic”, whose sacred music belongs to the tradition begun by Saint-Saëns and continued by Fauré, while Duruflé’s works link Roman Catholic liturgy with his formal training as an organist.
Three secular works celebrating the power of music follow: compare Handel’s baroque setting of Music, Spread thy Voice Around4 with the verses of You are the Music2, composed by Joan Szymko (b. 1957), a composer from the Pacific Northwest. The romantic style of If Music Be the Food of Love3, set to music by Minnesota choral conductor and composer David Dickau (b. 1953), is yet another contrast.
Next, compare the ambience of Sometimes I Feel1, a Negro spiritual with a contralto solo, with the familiar folk song Oh Shenandoah1,3, performed with all male voices.
Another selection from the folk song idiom, Unclouded Day4, combines a gospel tune, traditional bluegrass stylings, counterpoint and fugue, all to conclude in “a roof-raising eight-part chord on the phrase in the city that is made of gold”.
Salvation is Created4, sung entirely in Russian and supported by the dark, rich tones of the male voices, sets yet another stark contrast.
A professional orchestra will join us to perform the second half of the concert. We will offer two more appealing short works: French composer Gabriel Fauré’s familiar Cantique de Jean Racine4 – accompanied by strings and harp, and Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s The Ground4 , based on the chorale of his Sunrise Mass– accompanied by strings and piano.
Finally, sit back and enjoy the world premiere of Paul Gibson’s Te Deum4, celebrating our 50th year of performing this annual gala concert. The entire work draws largely from Gregorian chant, a specialty of our founder Paul Salamunovich.
Gibson himself experienced his first liturgical music – Latin hymns and chants – in the local parish church of the small village of Chitray, France, near the base at Châteauroux where his father had worked for the U.S. Air Force. Years later back in the U.S., he developed a fascination for Medieval and Renaissance music as a student at Mount St. Mary’s College, coming under the influence of Salamunovich while he sang both in that school’s choir, and later in the L.A. Master Chorale.
Although we singers struggled with learning the intricate Latin texts within this new work of seven movements, its musical style is indeed very familiar to us. I include, below, a brief description of each movement and an English translation of its text:
- Te Deum laudamus (God, we praise you)
This first movement begins quietly, as if in awe of God while singing His praises. However, each subsequent verse grows bolder, until reaching the line ‘Lord, God of hosts’. Then the music broadens, and all parts come together in unison – as if rising from obscurity into a brilliant world crowned by God’s glory.
We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord
All the earth praises you, the everlasting Father.
To you, all angels, to you the Heavens and all the Powers,
To you, Cherubim and Seraphim – with unceasing voice proclaim:
Holy, holy, holy
Lord god of hosts
Full are the heavens and the earth with the majesty of your glory.
To you, all angels, to you the Heavens are all the Powers,
To you, Cherubim and Seraphim, with unceasing voice proclaim:
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of your glory!
- Te gloriosus (You, the Glorious)
Each of the first four lines below are initially proclaimed by the sopranos, then echoed by the rest of the choir in homophony (the same rhythms, but with different notes), finally broadening majestically to join in unison upon reaching the final lines of text.
You the glorious chorus of the Apostles (praise).
You the praiseworthy number of Prophets (praise).
You the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise.
You throughout the whole world are acknowledged by the Holy Church
Father of immense majesty, who is to be worshipped,
your true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Movement 3: Tu Rex Gloriae (performed by the Women’s chorus)
The texture of this movement has been kept simple and pure to match the virtue and dignity of Christ’s mission here on Earth.
You are the King of Glory, O Christ.
You are the everlasting Son of the Father.
You, when you took upon yourself to deliver man,
did not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
You, by overcoming the sting of death,
opened to all believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
You, at the right hand, in the glory of the Father.
Movement 4: Judex Crederis
This movement showcases the orchestra, with singers offering support and commentary in the background through a technique called a mensuration canon, popular in Renaissance music. Like a regular canon, the leading musical phrase is imitated later by subsequent voices – but, in this case, at different speeds. The tenors will intone each segment of the melody in quarter notes, while the other voices support them with the same melody in whole notes:
Our Judge, we believe that you will come to be.
You, therefore we ask: help your servants,
whom, through your precious blood, you have redeemed.
Eternally make us with the saints
in glory to be outnumbered.
Movement 5: Salvum fac Populum
The light, buoyant musical lines of this movement are paired with rhythmic precision and numerous syllables of Latin text:
Save your people, O Lord, and bless your heritage.
And rule them, and lift them up forever.
Day after day we bless you;
And we worship your name forever for all ages.
Movement 6: Dignare, Domine
This slow and prayerful movement keeps its texture simple and ends with a soprano solo on its last line, to be handled by the Women’s Chorus:
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day, without sin
Have mercy on us.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us
since we have placed our trust in you.
In You, O Lord, I have trusted,
May I not be confounded, forever.
Movement 7: Alleluia, Amen
This final movement begins with sense of mystery and obscurity – almost creating the feel of being underwater, before rising out of it through a series of rhythmic “Alleluias”. Each subsequent line in the piece is interspersed by a new set of the words “Alleluia, Amen”, paired with new and distinct tones and rhythms.
You, O God, we praise.
Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God of hosts.
You, the eternal Father,
You, the King of glory, O Christ
And the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
In you, O Lord, I have trusted,
May I not be confounded, forever.
The entire work closes with a final series of jubilant “alleluias”.
Immediately following this Spring Chorale, please join us at a special reception to meet the composer of this work in person and enjoy some light refreshments. Simply walk across the Sunken Gardens in front of the chapel to the auditorium inside St. Robert’s Hall on campus.