Oratorio Chorale to perform Dvorak, Davies, Britten, and Thompson

Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 in Culture

Oratorio Chorale to perform Dvorak, Davies, Britten, and Thompson

Ray Cornils, Organist for the City of Portland, Minister of Music at First Parish Church, Brunswick, chorale and handbell choir leader and teacher, will accompany the Oratorio Chorale at their March concerts.

On March 9th and 10th the Oratorio Chorale will present Antonin Dvorak’s Mass in D, Ivor Davies’ Prayers from the Ark, Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Randall Thompson’s Alleluia, in a program titled “Rejoice.”

Performances will be held on Saturday March 9th at 7:30 p.m. at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Brunswick, and Sunday, at 3:00 p.m. at the Falmouth Congregational Church, Falmouth.  Soloists for this program are members of the Chorale.

The Oratorio Chorale will be accompanied by Ray Cornils, Municipal Organist for the City of Portland since 1990. Cornils serves as Minister of Music at the First Parish Church, UCC in Brunswick where he has built an extensive music program of five vocal and two handbell choirs. He is a member of the music faculties of the University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin College and the Portland Conservatory of Music, where he teaches organ, harpsichord and related classes.

Director Peter Frewen’s notes point out that although Dvorak was one of the most beloved 19th-century composers, the Mass in D is the only one of his masses to survive. Brahms once said that Dvorak “has more ideas than all of us together...that other composers could cull themes from what he throws away.”

Two selections on the Chorale’s March program were composed during World War II. Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb was written as a festival cantata for the 50th anniversary of the consecration of a church in Northampton, England. The text is drawn from a lengthy work by an18th-century poet, Christopher Smart.

The poems of Prayers from the Ark, by Ivor Davies, also composed during the war, are drawn from poems by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold (translated by author Rumer Godden).  A church organist and composer, Davies chose six of the poet’s 27 Prayers for his composition.

The eminent American composer Randall Thompson created three symphonies and chamber music, but his chief interest was choral repertoire. Of all his works, the Alleluia is his most enduring work. It was composed in 1940 for the inauguration of the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood.

Concert 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 Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine in Bath; Book Review in Falmouth; Sherman’s Books and Stationery in Freeport; and Starbird Music and Longfellow Books in Portland.

For ticket information, call 207-798-7985. For the rest of the Oratorio Chorale’s 2013-2014 season, visit www.oratoriochorale.org.

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