WRC presents holiday concert Dec. 8
The Western Reserve Chorale's (WRC) first concert of the 2019–20 season, featuring Respighi’s rarely performed masterpiece Lauda per la Natività del Signore, will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m., at Church of the Gesu (2470 Miramar Blvd., University Heights).
This year’s holiday season concert, featuring the 100-voice chorale, will offer a variety of works highlighting the winter season, including traditional and not-so-traditional arrangements of songs for Hanukah and Christmas by Gustav Holst, David Willcocks, Susan LaBarr, John Rutter, Dan Forrest, Stephen Schwartz, David Chase and others.
The centerpiece of this year’s performance, Respighi’s masterpiece Lauda per la Natività del Signore (Laud to the Nativity of the Lord), scored for soprano, alto and tenor soloists, chorus, four-hand piano and wind sextet, is music of wonderful clarity and lyricism. The WRC will be joined by soloists Sandra Simon, Natasha Ospina Simmons and J.R. Fralick as well as some of Northeast Ohio’s finest woodwind players.
If you know Respighi only from his massive orchestral works, such as The Pines of Rome, the Laud to the Nativity may come as somewhat of a revelation, with its delicate scoring and simple lyricism. While known mainly for his large-scale tone poems The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome, Respighi composed in a wide variety of forms and styles. He had a life-long fascination with music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, which heavily influenced his own music. Laud to the Nativity (1930) is undoubtedly his most charming and successful composition of music in the antique style.
The concert is free (donations are encouraged) and includes a post-concert reception. Free parking is available at the church.
David Gilson is artistic director of Western Reserve Chorale, director of music at Church of the Saviour, and associate dean for student affairs at the Cleveland Institute of Music.