News Details

April 19, 2017

“A Little Night Music” by Choral Ensembles to Perform on Sunday

West Virginia Wesleyan College choral ensembles will present a musical program, “A Little Night Music,” on Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. in Wesley Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

The choral ensembles are made up of Wesleyan Singers, Concert Chorale, and Concentus Vocum.

“I keep notes everywhere in my different work spaces – Word documents, digital and actual Post-it notes, scribbled napkins and scraps of paper, file folders and stacks of music – all listing possibilities for different thematic choral programs,” said R. Dan Hughes, director of Choral. “I try to include as much variety as I can when approaching a unifying theme, making sure the music features many different languages, historical periods and styles.”

This summer, he studied his lists and looked in other places for inspiration. He came across a recording of Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul, the last work on which will be performed in Sunday’s concert.  

The music and texts featured in the works by Gjeilo, Whitacre, and Poulenc all focus directly on the theme, “A Little Night Music.”  Dark Night of the Soul and Water Night are both engaging in different ways; Gjeilo describes the former as having “a sort of cinematic quality,” while the latter features the harmonic language which characterizes many of Whitacre’s most-loved pieces.  Poulenc’s setting of Eluard’s Un Soir de Neige (A Night of Snow) is a hauntingly moving reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. 

Other pieces that will be performed are texts from Vespers, a service of evening prayer.  These selections, by Monteverdi, Mozart, Pärt, and Casals, represent a variety of traditions and compositional approaches.  Three excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil come from the first six movements of the masterwork, similarly settings of texts from the Russian Orthodox canonical hour of Vespers.

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