WRC's 25th-anniversary season continues with March performances
Western Reserve Chorale (WRC) will present a double billing of Haydn’s Mass in Time of War (Missa in tempore belli) and Requiem for the Living by Daniel Forrest. Concerts will take place Sunday, March 12, at 4 p.m., at Mary Queen of Peace Church, at 4423 Pearl Road, in Cleveland; and Sunday, March 19, at 3:30 p.m., at Church of the Gesu, 2470 Miramar Blvd., in University Heights. WRC is a Cleveland Heights-based chorus of nearly 100 singers from across the region.
The two works, composed 218 years apart, provide a glimpse of the spectrum of compositional styles which have been used in liturgical choral/orchestral works.
The Haydn mass was selected to help commemorate this 25th year of the ensemble, as it was the major work performed in the chorale’s inaugural season. It belongs to the same expansive compositional period as Haydn’s late symphonies. Haydn composed it in 1796, while Austria was mobilizing its troops, and some people hear the distant thunder of canons in the persistent use of tympani throughout the mass. The upbeat final movement may have reflected the composer’s faith in the Austrian army.
A requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest, traditionally for the deceased. The five movements of Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living (2013), however, form a narrative for the living, and their struggle with pain and sorrow, as well as for the dead. Forrest made use of different Latin texts than most requiems include, and created sound textures that reflect a more modern take on “light eternal,” inspired by images from the Hubble telescope and the International Space Station.
WRC will be joined by professional orchestral musicians and will feature soloists Marian Vogel, Sandra Ross, Timothy Culver, Brian Keith Johnson, and boy soprano Henry Dyck.
These concerts are presented with the support of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and the AHS Foundation. They are free and open to the public, though a free-will offering will be taken.
David Gilson, artistic director of the Western Reserve Chorale, lives in Cleveland Heights with his family.