The Festival Chorale Oregon will be presenting a must-see concert at St. Joseph’s Parish! On Friday, November 21st at 7:30PM this immense choir with orchestra will perform Faure’s Requiem and Distler’s Totentanz as part of a season they call “From Darkness Into Light.”
In addition to hearing this very beautiful and powerful music, your attendance at this concert benefits our future pipe organ, as the group has designated the profits to go to our Casavant organ fundraising! This is an amazing opportunity to hear great music in the wonderful acoustics of our own St. Joseph’s sanctuary and also help this wonderful cause!
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students, available at the door or the parish office. Spread the word and be a part of this special event!!
And this, from the Festival Chorale's website:
The concert features three works that will prepare us to move from the darkness through
dawn into light over the course of the three concerts this season. First will be Hugo Distler's Totentanz (Dance of Death), where actors and a small choir portray the power of death over humanity. After the intermission, the full choir performs two works by Gabriel Fauré including an audience favorite, Fauré's Requiem, exploring a different view of death. In talking about his Requiem, Fauré described death as "a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience."
The Totentanz is very rarely performed. Besides a small choir, the performance include several actors, one representing Death, the others his various victims: president, manager, physician, merchant, soldier, sailor, mystic, farmer, young lady, old man, and child. The Dance of Death is a literary and painting genre, portraying the inevitable power of death over all humanity, often with admonitions to righteousness so you can enter heaven. The work sounds bone-simple, but those who have actually sung it, tell you it can give a choir fits.
The Totentanz comes from roughly 1936. Distler, a German living during the Third Reich, joined the Nazi party when they came to power, believing that the party would favor the church. However, the Nazis' hostility to religion and therefore to sacred music became increasingly clear. As the Nazis began to harass and clamp down, Distler moved from faculty to faculty. Furthermore, many of his friends had tried to resist the Nazis and were arrested. Distler found protection in high circles for a time but no respite from being called up. He got his wife and children out of Germany, while he remained behind. The terror and brutality of the Nazis depressed him. After one final attempt to draft him, he committed suicide. Ironically, another exemption came through shortly thereafter.
The second part of the concert features two works by Gabriel Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine and Requiem. Fauré composed Cantique de Jean Racine when he was only 19 years old, as a graduation requirement. The piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer de Paris. More than 20 years later, Fauré composed his Requiem, between 1887 and 1890. This choral-orchestra setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. Here, the 100-voice choir is joined by a chamber orchestra, and baritone Kevin Helppie. The famous Pie Jesu movement of the Requiem, traditionally performed by a soprano soloist, will be sung by the children's choir of Adams Elementary School in Corvallis, directed by Stephanie McCormick.
Some proceeds from this concert will go toward the Organ Restoration Fund for St. Joseph Church.