July 21, 2013
Dear Members and Friends of the Houston Masterworks Chorus,
Happy mid-summer greetings to you ALL!
We had a most wonderful 2012-13 season of music-making. And, I was so happy to be with through it. Thanks to each of you for your singing, support of our chorus, and for giving me the great honor of leading you.
Most of our membership will attest to the remarkable number of opportunities to perform that we so richly enjoyed: A gorgeous 9/11 Faure'"Requiem", Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms", Honegger's "King David", Handel's "Messiah", Saint-Saens "Christmas Oratorio", Rutter's "Joy To The World Carol Arrangements", Dubois' "Seven Last Words Of Christ", Rutter's "Requiem", and the glorious Mahler "Resurrection Symphony No. 2".
This list makes my heart beat faster and brings a rush of very happy memories!
And, NOW we are on the threshold of several marvelous presentations.
On Sunday morning, August 25th, we will sing in the 9:30 and 10:45 services at Houston's First Presbyterian Church. This will enable us to musically THANK this great and generous congregation for their wonderful support of our chorus. Their provision of a place to meet weekly alongside generosity of hospitality carry incalculable worth to an organization such as ours. Please plan to be with us to sing that morning!
We will begin our 2013-14 Season in a combined presentation with the Rice University Chorale on 9/11/2013 in Stude Concert Hall at the Shepherd School of Music. We will sing the world-famous "Mass in G Major" by Franz Peter Schubert. We will be accompanied by orchestral instrumentalists from the Shepherd School. Student soloists will sing. This annual musical-remembrance will take on additional meaning as we recall those who have won the race, and have gone before us. As I write this message, I am reminded of the terrible losses our community suffered when very brave Firefighters gave the ultimate sacrifice in recent months. And, we have so many who have fought in wars, and suffered at the hands of terrorists and natural disasters. Our Music-Making will offer us ALL a unified comfort.
In the gorgeous Sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church in Houston on this coming November 22nd, we will observe a profoundly solemn anniversary indeed: the FIFTIETH anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Our concert will take as its focus that of music by American Composers. Among others, we will offer selections from Aaron Copland's "The Tender Land", some of his folksong arrangements, Samuel Barber's "Agnus Dei", several movements of Randall Thompson's "Frostiana" as well as his immortal "Alleluia". We will conclude with fantastically great and stirring arrangements of some of our heritage of patriotic songs.
Our annual concert of Christmas masterworks is going to occur on Monday, December 16th at the gloriously magnificent Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. We will sing TWO settings of the text of the "GLORIA" - The great setting by Antonio Vivaldi as well as the modern one by the world-renowned John Rutter. We will, of course, also offer some beautiful carols of the season. The concert will be accompanied by brass and string instrumentalists along with the wonderful Co-Cathedral Gallery Organ. This concert is not to be missed!
BASS DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!! HMC will do its first-ever performance of the GREATEST of all REQUIEMS - the Manzoni REQUIEM by Giuseppe Verdi. We will be making a return visit to the beautiful Sanctuary of the Grace Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon, March 30, 2014. Since this coming October marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Maestro Verdi, it is only fitting that we should remember him with a performance of his landmark choral setting of the Requiem Mass for the Dead.
Our season will conclude with a collaboration with the Rice Chorale and the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra in Stude Concert Hall. This year we will sing the wonderfully atmospheric progressions of Maurice Ravel's Suites from Daphnis and Chloe Nos. 1 and 2. Larry Rachleff will conduct this single concert presentation on Friday evening, April 25, 2014.
Our combined efforts as the GREAT HOUSTON MASTERWORKS CHORUS will continue its role as a force for the GOOD of our entire Houston community.
Please invite your friends to experience our singing in any of our live concerts. You and they will not be disappointed. You have my/our promise of that!
Also, we are ALWAYS looking to add qualified singers to our roster. This year's repertoire is particularly demanding and large-scale...so, please be in touch with me with any prospects you might have to offer.
You all have my deepest and fondest wishes for a great remainder to the summer season. And, I can't wait to hear you sing this coming AUGUST!
With love and appreciation,
Artistic Director and Conductor - Houston Masterworks Chorus
Professor of Music - Rice University's Shepherd School of Music