Tapestry singers go for Baroque

Posted Sunday, December 22, 2013 in Culture

Tapestry singers go for Baroque

by Gina Hamilton

In spite of deteriorating weather, the Tapestry Singers, conducted by Harold “Sandy” Falconer, with the DaPonte String Quartet, as well as some friends on woodwinds, brass, organ, and tympani, performed the J.S. Bach Magnificat in D on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Second Congregational Church.  

The Magnificat, or the Canticle of Mary, is text from the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55), where it is spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, who is then pregnant with John the Baptist. 

In the musical piece, each line is its own movement.  In addition to the choral movements, there are arias, duets, and trios.

Timothy Johnson (tenor), John Fischer (baritone), Amy Lalime (mezzo-soprano), Sue Hunt (mezzo-soprano), and a new voice, Abbey Hutchins (soprano), sang the solo parts.  Johnson is a well-known local tenor who has been in good voice each time we’ve heard him.  We’ve also had the pleasure of hearing Amy Lalime in the past.  Sue Hunt and John Fischer were new voices to us, and Abbey Hutchins is a new voice to everyone.  A senior at Lincoln Academy, she is this year’s grant recipient from the Tapestry Singers.  Her pure soprano tone was delightful, and the Magnificat was a good place for Miss Hutchins to step onto a larger stage.  The solo parts are not overly taxing (except in breath) and are of a normal range for most singers.  Miss Hutchins sang the “Quia Respexit” (For He has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden), which morphs suddenly into the choral “Omnes Generationes” (All generations).

Of particular note were the choruses “Sicut locutus est” (According to the promise), and the final Gloria, which were breathtaking choral works, with strong support from the brass and the rest of the musical ensemble.   

The second half of the program was a program of seasonal music, including “How brightly shines the morning star” by J.S. Bach and parts of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Christus” (lifted rather shamelessly from one of the chorales in the Bach Christmas Oratorio).   Only three parts of the “Christus” were published, because Mendolssohn died before it was complete.  

In addition, the Singers performed three related pieces - the Williams’ arrangement of “We’ve been awhile a-wandering”, “Here we come a-wassailing”, and “We wish you a merry Christmas”, all based on the medieval practice of singing for supper from door to door.  Other holiday traditional pieces included “Good King Wenceslas”, “In the Bleak Midwinter”, “Joy to the World”, “The Carol of the Birds”, and “Mary had a baby”.  A lovely Spanish-language song called “Riu, riu, chiu” for contralto, tenors and bass soloists and chorus with percussion, and two John Rutter pieces, “Star Carol” and “Nativity Carol”, were also sung.  

The audience was invited to sing along on certain songs. 

The Tapestry Singers will perform the Mozart Requiem and J.S. Bach’s Cantata 106 (Gottes Zeit ist die allerbest Zeit)on April 12 and 13 at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta.  The DaPonte String Quartet will once again join the chorus. That performance will be the final performance of director Harold “Sandy” Falconer, who is retiring from the baton (though not the chorus) at the end of this season.

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