The Chamber Singers of Iowa City present J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat” and “Ascension Oratorio,” with soloists and orchestra at 3 p.m. Sunday, in City High’s Opstad Auditorium, 1900 Morningside Drive, Iowa City.
“Magnificat” is Bach’s interpretation of the Canticle of Mary, her response to the announcement by the angel Gabriel that she is to be the mother of the savior. Written in 1723 and later revised, it is Bach’s first major liturgical work written in Latin.
Bach wrote “Ascension Oratorio,” in 1735. Set in 11 movements, it retells the Gospel story of the ascension of Christ. The careful listener will note that “Ascension” includes two chorales that will be familiar as hymn tunes, and that Bach reprised an alto aria in the Agnus Dei of his “Mass in B Minor.”
Most of the soloists are familiar to our listeners.
Barbara Clements, soprano, has sung in many concerts with Chamber Singers, including Mozart’s “Grabmusik,” Haydn’s “The Seasons,” and, most recently, Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus.” She is associate professor of music at Arkansas Tech University.
South Korean soprano Gyehyun Jung is currently pursuing a DMA in voice performance at the University of Iowa, where she studies with Stephen Swanson. Jung is a graduate of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. This is her first appearance with the Chamber Singers.
Mezzo-soprano Lisa Neher will be remembered for her performance in Faure’s “Requiem” and other works. She is a composer who frequently premieres new contemporary music, and is the creator of the One Voice Project.
Juan Carlos Mendoza, tenor, is a native of Muscatine who frequently sings with the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus. He most recently sang with the Chamber Singers in their Iowa premiere of Arvo Pärt’s “Passio.” He received his master’s of musical arts from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School.
John Muriello, baritone, has an active, international performing career in opera, operetta, musical theater and concert work. He is a frequent performer with the Chamber Singers and with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.
Lynda Hakken, organ, is the Chamber Singers’ regular accompanist. She is a freelance musician in the area and has a private studio. She recently served as visiting faculty in the organ department at the University of Iowa, and is an active solo performer.
A golf cart and driver will be available to assist those who need a little help in getting to the auditorium from the faculty parking lot. Please come early for a ride up the hill.
The Chamber Singers dedicate this concert to the memory of their friend and colleague, Scott M. Streff, a lifelong lover and scholar of great music. After attending a Chamber Singers concert, he became a great fan, board member and supporter, eventually setting up an endowment fund for the group. He passed away on Sept. 16. Scott loved all things Bach. He is greatly missed.
James Petersen sings with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.