Submitted to The Morning Star
Aura Chamber Choir will perform a concert of baroque choral music on April 28 and April 29 at All Saints Anglican Church.
Under the direction of its founding director Imant Raminsh, and its associate director Terry Logan, Aura will sing selections from J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and from G. F. Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum.
Written in 1727, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion recounts the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion.
It is believed to have been first performed on Good Friday, 1727, in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. Since the Middle Ages, Christian churches had observed Holy Week by retelling the crucifixion story in music. By Bach’s time, the passion as a musical form had grown from its simple beginnings to one involving orchestra, choirs and non-scriptural arias and choruses.
St. Matthew Passion is exceptional for its musical richness and grand scale even by the standards of the baroque passion. The score is of imposing length and calls for two orchestras and two choirs and at one point, three choirs.
For this concert, Aura will be accompanied by less elaborate orchestral underpinnings. It has long been the desire of conductor Raminsh to present this profound work as part of a plan to lead the Aura Chamber Choir through all of Bach’s major choral works.
In the past, the choir has presented Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, his B Minor Mass and The St. John Passion. After this performance, the choir will have a solid acquaintance with the major choruses in St. Matthew Passion, and Raminsh looks forward to mounting a complete performance of the work sometime in the future.
Dettingen Te Deum was written by G. F. Handel to celebrate the June 1743 victory of the British army and its German allies over the French army at the Battle of Dettingen.
Written in less than two weeks, and borrowing freely from an existing Te Deum written in 1680 by F. A. Urio, Handel produced a brilliant, if unconventional Te Deum.
Dettingen Te Deum was first performed Nov. 27, 1743 in the Chapel Royal of St. James’s Palace, London, to mark the triumphant homecoming of King George II who had commanded the British forces.
This celebratory piece, with its martial character, is equally a psalm in praise of God as it is a panegyric meant to flatter the military self-regard of the king. Since the 18th century, the choruses had been used to enhance British ceremonial occasions with music of a uniquely English character. Despite this, Dettingen Te Deum is a choral work that is seldom performed.
Associate director Logan will direct the choir in this brilliant and exciting choral piece.
Aura will be joined for this concert by a number of soloists: sopranos Logan and Carmen Harris, contralto Krista Close Blackmore, countertenor Quinn Bates, tenor Glen Goerzen, and bass Don Goerzen. Organist Marjorie Close will be joined by flutists Lisa Kilgour and Laurel Salé-Hook, violinists Amy Friedman and Hanna Friedman, cellist Bill Boyd, and trumpeters Rosalynn MacGregor and Ron Spohr.
The Aura Chamber Choir presents Passion and Praise April 28, 7:30 p.m., and April 29, 2 p.m., at All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon. Admission is $18, students and children are free. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Bean Scene and from choir members. For more information call 250-545-1533.