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Program Notes – Sacred Pieces

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

You did it. You bought yourself a ticket to the Greeley Chorale Concert on October 5th. You’re sitting in the new beautiful seats of the UNC Campus Commons with your crisp program in hand. You open it up to see a long paragraph about what you’re about to hear. Some of you will read the entire thing, gripping onto every word that goes by. Others will skim it, getting the gist. Others will look at it and laugh, thinking that they came out to see a concert, not read a novel.

We’re here to break it to you…Program notes are not some secret language that only musicians understand, and over the next couple weeks, we’re going to explain them to you!

What’s on this concert?

Our first round of program notes covers Sacred/Anthems/Motets. Basically, think music written for church. This is a beloved category for the members of the Chorale, and their favorites were actually some “classics”. The Bogoroditse Devo of Rachmaninoff is part of his monumental “Vespers”, and is a setting of the well-known “Ave Maria” text. You may recognize this song from the Lion King around the time of Mufasa’s death. (Start at 4’33”)

Ave Maria: Rejoice, virgin mother of God, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have borne the Savior of our souls.

Maurice Duruflé

Next up is French composer Maurice Duruflé. Duruflé wrote only a handful of compositions, but aside from his “Requiem”, his best known smaller work is Ubi Caritas, enjoyed by choirs all over the world.

Ubi Caritas: Where charity and love are, God is there. Love of Christ has gathered us into one. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad. Let us fear, and let us love the living God. And from a sincere heart let us love one. Where charity and love are, God is there. At the same time, therefore, are gathered into one: Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware. Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease. And in the midst of us be Christ our God. Where charity and love are, God is there. At the same time we see that with the saints also, Thy face in glory, O Christ our God: The joy that is immense and good, Unto the World without end. Amen.

John Rutter

Finally, British composer, John Rutter, makes his way into our October 5th Concert. His settings are frequently enjoyed by the Chorale (especially at Christmas), and at this concert we will present his upbeat setting of Psalm 47, O Clap Your Hands.

Gilbert Martin

We close this portion of favorites with the beloved arrangement by Gilbert Martin of the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. This piece was thought to be innovative because it was one of the first hymns to veer away from using scripture as lyrics. It was written to convey the emotions of the singers, not just be remembrances from the past.

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