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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Chamber Choir Presents ‘Amazing Grace’

Friday's concert will feature 19th- and 20th-century a cappella choral works

The world-renowned UCSB Chamber Choir, under the direction of founder and presiding genius Michel Marc Gervais, will present “Amazing Grace,” a concert of 19th- and 20th-century a cappella choral works, at 8 p.m. Friday, May 21, in Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara.

On the program we will find Johannes Brahms’ Fünf Gesänge, Opus 104, Felix Mendelssohn’s Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener, Opus 69:1, Charles Ives’ setting of Psalm 67 (“God be merciful unto us”), John Newton’s beautiful hymn Amazing Grace (arranged by the eminent music director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Robert Page), and Warning to the Rich by Swedish composer Thomas Jennefelt (born in 1954).

In 2001, the Chamber Choir recorded a lovely CD of choral songs by Brahms and Robert Schumann, including Brahms’ Fünf Gesänge of this program. Far be it from me to ever protest the performance of a piece by Mendelssohn, but his bicentennial was last year and Schumann’s is now. Perhaps Maestro Gervaise has something planned for the fall.

Jennefelt’s reputation continues to rise with each new work. “Many of his works have earned international popularity,” Tony Lundman writes, “with their trademark profusion of choral colour, often underpinned by a regular pulse and repetitive rhythm.”

Warning to the Rich is an early work, from 1977, and its popularity has been constant and widespread since its first performance.

Donations of $15 for general admission and $7 for students will be collected at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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