Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 12:30 am | Fair 42º

 
 
 
 

University Singers Leapfrog Three Centuries

Music from the 16th and 20th centuries will be conducted by Helena von Rueden and Adam Kurihara

The University Singers: Men’s and Women’s Choruses will present a concert called “Cantiques” (French for “canticles” or “sacred songs”) at 8 p.m. Thursday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St.

The Singers, an interesting pair of ensembles made up of music majors and nonmajors, are under the overall direction of professor Michel Marc Gervais.

The conductors of the concert will be Helena von Rueden and Adam Kurihara, who lead their choruses in a program of sacred music drawn from two widely separated eras of composition: roughly 1550 to 1650 and 1880 to 1980.

The early baroque selections draw on the works of Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), Jacob Arcadelt (1514-57), Giovanni Pierluigi Sante called “Palestrina” (1525-94), Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) and someone called “Biebl,” whom I have not been able to trace. From the “modern” period come selections by American Randall Thompson (1899-1984), Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) and Leo Delibes (1836-1891).

Any concert that boasts a piece by Monteverdi already has a lot going for it. In the 1960s, I worked on a remarkable production of Monteverdi’s opera, The Coronation of Poppea, but I was mad for Mahler and Beethoven in those days and didn’t take much interest in such antique music. Now, I put this composer in the inner circle of the all-time greatest.

I am ready to put Palestrina into that circle as well, once I have heard more of his music. So far, I know him best from Hans Pfitzner’s 1915 opera about him — which, of course, contains none of his music. But if church music from the Counter-Reformation is your standard of perfection, then Palestrina is the man for you. The stuff I have heard by him — some motets, a couple of masses — is uniformly sublime.

Except for those who long to hear great American choral music, who will naturally show up for Thompson, the item of most interest in the modern section is a little-known Messe Brève for equal voices and string quartet, by Delibes, famous for his graceful, polished ballets (Coppelia) and operas (Lakme). No doubt the Fauré will be lovely as — well, as his serenely perfect Requiem attests, unbelievers often write damned fine religious music.

A donation of $15 for general admission and $7 for students will be collected at the door. For more information about music at UCSB, click here or call 805.893.7001.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >