With February’s The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn Concert, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Contrasts Powerful Works by Two Choral Giants at Church of The Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse

CONTACTS:

January 9, 2014
Janelle McCoy, Executive Director
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
215.735.9922

Edward McNally, Above The Fold
404.281.641

Philadelphia’s Largest Symphonic Chorus Presents Haydn’s Mass In Time of War and Three Pieces by Arvo Pärt, Including an Encore Performance of Adam’s Lament

(Philadelphia)  Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, one of the largest symphonic choruses in the nation, will present Haydn’s Mass In Time of War and three pieces by Arvo Pärt, including Adam’s Lament. The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra will share the stage for The Sound of Spirit Pärt/Haydn concert at 4 pm, Sunday February 23 in the Church of The Holy Trinity at Rittenhouse Square.  The program will include an encore performance of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament, which was first presented by Mendelssohn Club in the fall of 2012.  Music critic David Patrick Stearns described the chorus’ rendering of that work as “seethingly passionate” and “harmonically explosive.” Two shorter works by Pärt, including the North American premieres of his Estonian Lullaby and Salve Regina, complete the program.  The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn was made possible by a $50,000 gift by The Archie W. and Grace Berry Foundation.

 “I’m fascinated to witness how the audience experiences these works by two such different composers,” says Alan Harler, who has been Artistic and Music Director and main conductor of the 140-member Mendelssohn Club Chorus for over 25 years. “Haydn’s music for chorus is among the most beautiful and satisfying ever composed and the Arvo Pärt half of the program offers truly sublime sounds that speak to the universal idea of humanity itself.”

 Harler is quick to add that, “Pärt enjoys an incredibly loyal and devoted following all over the world, especially among younger listeners, which is very richly deserved.”  Just this past fall, an excerpt of Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel was heard all over the world as a crucial element of the preview trailer for the blockbuster film Gravity.

 Despite being separated by over two centuries of music, Arvo Pärt and Joseph Haydn both sought to make sense of the lengthy wars of their times. Each composer was impacted by the grim realities of war and each responded in their own way through their musical composition. Missa in tempore belli or Mass in Time of War is Joseph Haydn’s tenth and perhaps most popular, of his fourteen settings of the mass. Written during the incessant French aggression against the Austrians, Mass in Time of War embodies the sounds of battle juxtaposed to prayers for peace.  Similarly, Arvo Pärt sought to find common ground as a way to bridge warring factions through his music.

When asked how he chose this particular combination of choral works, Harler observed that, “Since 9/11, though most Americans have thankfully escaped the direct ravages war can bring within our borders, there is a war-related mental fatigue that colors our perceptions.  The Sound of Spirit Pärt/Haydn presents very different responses to the tragedy of war by two uniquely gifted composers writing across a gulf of two centuries.” 

Concert details: 

The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn
with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Barbara Berry, soprano
Jennifer Beattie, mezzo-soprano
Roy Hage, tenor
Brandon Cedel, bass

February 23, 2014 | 4 pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
1904 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
$28 & $38 online | $30 & $40 at the door 

Later this spring, Mendelssohn Club will present the world premiere production of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields.  The 140-member symphonic chorus will give four performances of the work in the historic Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral April 26 and 27, 2014. Anthracite Fields is inspired by Wolfe’s own research into Pennsylvania coal mining culture and interviews with miners and their families. Wolfe’s folk-classical hybrid will incorporate the architecture of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral’s  sanctuary as a dramatic backdrop. Mendelssohn Club will be joined by the musicians of the Bang on a Can All-Stars for all four performances of this important world premiere.

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Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Since its founding fifteen decades ago, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities.  Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing, or reaching out to, new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

“With a passionate commitment to artistic excellence, repertoire diversity, audience engagement, and commissioning new works, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under the direction of Maestro Alan Harler, continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, and relevant choral ensemble in the greater Philadelphia community.”

Rollo Dillworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chorus America

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-14 season, visit www.mcchorus.org.

You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

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Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia 2013-14 Season
continues…

The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn
with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
February 23, 2014 | 4 pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
1904 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
$28 & $38 online | $30 & $40 at the door 

Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe
with Bang On a Can All-Stars
April 26, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm
April 27, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
13 South 38th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tickets $28 online | $30 at the door

Experience the mining lore of the anthracite coal fields of central Pennsylvania through this new, folk-classical hybrid by composer Julia Wolfe, runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in music. The sound and lyrics of Anthracite Fields is inspired by Wolfe’s personal research and her interviews with miners and their families .  The premiere performances will incorporate the  architecture of The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral’s sanctuary as a dramatic backdrop. Mendelssohn Club joins forces with the internationally renowned Bang on a Can All-Stars for this very special series of four concerts over two days.

Anthracite Fields was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund; The Presser Foundation; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia; and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Visit www.anthracitefields.com to follow the development of this new Julia Wolfe work in the months leading up to its world premiere in April 2014.

Beethoven Symphony No. 9
with the Philadelphia Sinfonia

June 8, 2014 | 4 pm
Verizon Hall
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102

Tickets are available via the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to hear all 140 voices of the magnificent Mendelssohn Club Chorus along with some of Philadelphia’s most talented young musicians. Mendelssohn Club joins the Philadelphia Sinfonia in Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony with Maestro Gary White conducting.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

For the past 140 years, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities.  Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing or reaching out to new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

Earlier this year, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia received the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, which recognizes choruses that demonstrate a commitment to fostering and promoting new music.

“With a passionate commitment to artistic excellence, repertoire diversity, audience engagement, and commissioning new works, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under the direction of Maestro Alan Harler, continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, and relevant choral ensemble in the greater Philadelphia community.”

Rollo Dillworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chorus America

Alan Harler, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Alan Harler, who received the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, is known for pairing new works with the masterworks. During his twenty-five year tenure with Mendelssohn Club, he has commissioned over 55 new compositions, including David Lang’s battle hymns (2009), Jennifer Higdon’s On the Death of the Righteous, and Pauline Oliveros’ Urban Echo: Circle Told (2008). Maestro Harler conducted Mendelssohn Club in a critically acclaimed recording of the Moran Requiem for Argo/London Records in 1994.

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-2014 season, visit www.mcchorus.org  You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

 

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