The Hugh Hodgson School of Music presents the UGA Concert Choir, under the direction of Allen Crowell, on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. This concert will feature romantic works by French composers, Daniel Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata as well as holiday motets by Jacob Handl.
The concert is free and open to the public.
A recipient of six honorary degrees, Pinkham is a prolific and versatile composer who has been named composer of the year by the American Guild of Organists and received the Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the Choral Arts.
Written in 1958, his Wedding Cantata is based on texts from the Old Testament Song of Songs. In setting these poems, traditionally interpreted as presenting erotic love as a metaphor for the love between God and man, the cantata musically celebrates the corporeal pleasures of love.
“I’ve worked closely with Dan Pinkham a couple of times in premiers of his works,” says Crowell. “The latest was his Alleluia for the Waters that was commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association for the first ever National Men’s Honor’s Choir that I conducted ten years ago in Washington His Wedding Cantata was written for friends of his. It exists in a chamber orchestra version or for piano only-both are authentic and authorized. We will be using piano only, and it’s a very gracious part.”
The program also includes motets by the 16th century composer Jacob Handl. A Catholic Slovenian composer and Cistercian monk who lived most of his life in Austria and Bohemia, he primarily set sacred Latin texts. His work was forward-looking and inventive in its use of chromaticism unheard of during his time. The selection of this concert are all in the form of a motet, a polyphonic composition based on a sacred text and usually sung without accompaniment.
“Jacob Handl has long been a favorite of mine,” says Crowell. “He is an adventurous composer for his time with lots of quirky harmonies and mild, unprepared dissonances. These three motets aren’t from the same sets. They just seemed to flow nicely in a liturgical way-Annunciation to Christmas to Epiphany-conception, birth and bringing of gifts.”
The UGA Concert Choir is a mixed ensemble of approximately 40 voices. The ensemble’s performances focus on the great works of the choral repertoire from the Renaissance through to the present.
The 2003-2004 season included music of Brahms, Victoria, Poulenc, Britten and many others. The Concert Choir usually sings a cappella or with piano.