Our next performance
Armistice Centennial | Saturday, November 17, 2018, at The Vets in Providence
Lessons learned from war are hard-won. Walt Whitman, the 19th-century poet whose “barbaric yawp” speaks clearly even to the 21st century, learned his lessons in Civil War military hospitals. His poetry is at the core of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ choral masterpiece, Dona Nobis Pacem, a warning against the rising tide of war in the mid-1930s.
The Providence Singers will perform Dona Nobis Pacem as guests of the Rhode Island Philharmonic in a concert marking the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I in November 1918. Christopher Warren-Green, guest conductor, will lead the performance. Also on the program: Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and the Elgar Cello Concerto, with cellist Colin Carr.
Choral notes and text | Concert notes | Get tickets | Open rehearsal
Still to come this season
- G.F. Handel’s Messiah | Saturday, December 15, 2018, at The Vets in Providence
Christine Noel conducts the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra,Singers, and soloists in the twelfth annual performance of Handel’s masterpiece — a fresh reading informed by Baroque performance practice.
Program details | Get tickets | Directions
- What Sweeter Music: Songs of the Spirit | Saturday, March 9, in Cranston; Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Bristol
Music for chorus a cappella and chorus with organ, including works of Johannes Brahms, Edward Elgar, Julian Wachner and others. The major work on the program is the Mass in C by Josef Rheinberger, a prolific late-19th century composer now known mainly for his contributions to the organ repertoire. John Black is the guest organist.
- The Heart of the Singer | Saturday, May 18, in Cranston; Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Bristol
The Wound in the Water is a 2016 composition for chorus, piano, and string orchestra by the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, setting verse by the Welsh poet Euan Tait. It examines themes of mammon, the love of money that holds ruinous power over the human condition, fostering conflict and competition and blunting the capacity for love. Also on the program: Mozart’s brief Inter Natos Mulierum.
Recordings of the Providence Singers
Dan Forrest: Requiem for the Living
Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living proved to be a powerful work in performance for both singers and listeners. He wrote it in 2013. The Providence Singers performed it in November 2014, together with three Bach motets. Little more than two years after the concert, the Singers had finished its initial Kickstarter campaign, raised additional funds, and booked a recording session at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The CD was released December 5, 2017.
Notes and text | Download at iTunes | Amazon | Google Play
Lou Harrison: La Koro Sutro
La Koro Sutro, sung entirely in Esperanto and accompanied by an American gamelan — built for performances in Boston and Providence by our friends at the Boston Modern Orchestra Project — was exotic, immediately engaging, and unlike anything the Singers had encountered before or performed since. BMOP paired the Singers’ recording of La Koro Sutro with Harrison’s Suite for Violin and American Gamelan to make an extraordinary CD, released in July 2014. Program Notes | Read the Globe’s review
Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
Jonah was a difficult prophet. He tried to wriggle out of divine assignments and whined loudly enough to annoy even God. Dominick Argento used medieval poetry, the Book of Jonah and other sources to prepare the libretto for this composition, preserving ancient alliterations and a great deal of wit and charm: “Even the casual listener will notice that the whale (the trombone solo in the Intermezzo section) gets the best tune in the work. And this is as it should be since I consider the whale, not Jonah, to be the hero of the piece.” Notes on the work ...
Lukas Foss: The Prairie
Lukas Foss fled Nazi Germany with his family – first to Paris in 1933 and then to the United States in 1937. He was 15 when he arrived in Philadelphia to begin his studies at the Curtis Institute. Foss embraced his new homeland – “... as a boy of 15, I fell in love with America,” he said – becoming a U.S. citizen in 1942. He found Carl Sandburg’s poem when he was 19 and began almost immediately to set it to music, adapting it himself without a librettist. The Singers loved it as well. Notes and composer’s commentary ...