Ensembles Combine for HSU Holiday Concert

Schubert’s Magnificat, Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and sacred music of the season highlight a combined holiday concert by the Humboldt Symphony, University Singers and Humboldt Chorale on Friday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The concert’s climax is Schubert’s “Magnificat,” performed by all three ensembles. Also known as the song of Mary, it is often performed in the Christmas season. “The string section carries the orchestral part,” said Humboldt Symphony conductor Paul Cummings. “The piece is almost all full ensemble choral singing, though there’s a lovely passage for solo voices that’s very melodic, typical of Schubert.”

On its own the Symphony performs the Christmas Concerto by Baroque composer Archangelo Corelli. It is Corelli’s best-known work for strings, which he requested be played on Christmas Eve. “Parts of the melody may be familiar,” Cummings said, “since it is heard at this time of year. Besides strings, it is scored for harpsichord, and we’re using a real one, not a synthesizer.”

The orchestra also performs “Four Little Pieces” by contemporary composer Karel Husa, and the Holberg Suite by Edvard Grieg.

The Humboldt Chorale begins the concert with sacred music by 20th century French composer Gabriel Faure and contemporary American composer James Kantor, as well as a traditional American Christmas spiritual. The Chorale is a community group directed for the first time by Elisabeth Harrington.

The University Singers, directed by Harley Muilenburg, performs contemporary British composer John Rutter’s “Gloria,” a celebratory section of the Mass based on Gregorian chant.

The three ensembles also collaborate on two carols to end the concert: “How far is it to Bethlehem?” and “Still, still, still,” both arranged for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Tickets are $8 general, $5 seniors and children, and free for HSU students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. For more information visit HSUMusic.blogspot.com. Produced by HSU Music Department.