Oratorio Chorale to present 'Songs from the British Isles'

Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in Culture

Oratorio Chorale to present 'Songs from the British Isles'

Ray Cornils, municipal organist for the city of Portland, will accompany the Oratorio Chorale in its upcoming production.

BATH — The Oratorio Chorale will open its 38th season with “Songs from the British Isles,” a program featuring sacred and secular music from 19th and 20th century composers such as Britten, Elgar, Finzi, Howells and Holst.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in the United Church of Christ, Bath, and at 3 p.m. Nov. 20 in Sacred Heart Church, Yarmouth.

Guest artist and accompanist for the concerts is Ray Cornils, municipal organist for the city of Portland, a post he has held since 1990. Since 1987, Cornils has also served as minister of music at First Parish Church, UCC, Brunswick, where he has built an extensive program of five vocal and two handbell choirs. In addition to performances with the Oratorio Chorale and Maine Music Society, Cornils performs regularly with Musica Tricinia, a group of two trumpets and organ.

In his notes, director Peter Frewen points out that the compositions by Britten and Finzi were each visualized as a set, one organized around the idea of flowers, the other around the voice of a single poet, Robert Bridges. A number of poets are represented in this program, among them Robert Herrick, Henry Vaughan, George Lord Byron, and the American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. These works range from the 17th to the 20th centuries. "Longfellow’s Serenade" is from his verse play "The Spanish Student," and was a popular text for parlor songs. Elgar’s music creates a Spanish-inflected instrumental melody.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, half price for students, and free for children under 12. Tickets may be purchased from members of the Chorale, at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick; Now You’re Cooking and Etc. Finery in Bath; Sherman’s Books and Stationery in Freeport; Clayton’s in Yarmouth; Maine Coast Books in Damariscotta; Treats in Wiscasset; and Starbird Music and Longfellow Books in Portland.

For more information about this concert and the 2011-2012 season, visit www.oratoriochorale.org or call (207) 725-1420.

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