A celebration of American choral and roots music – classic and new – wraps the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 49th season with the world premiere of Plath Songs, set the poetry of Sylvia Plath by Swan Family Composer in Residence Shawn Kirchner, as well as works by Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, Elliott Carter, Abbie Betinis, Eric Whitacre and celebrated spiritual composer/arrangers William Dawson, Jester Hairston, André Thomas and Moses Hogan on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at Disney Hall.
Music Director Grant Gershon conducts Eric Whitacre’s Three Songs of Faith, set to a trio of texts by e.e. cummings and written in 1999 for the 100th anniversary of Northern Arizona University’s School of Music. In addition, the Chorale performs Charles Ives’ General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, based on a Vachel Lindsay poem, Elliott Carter’s Tarantella, written for men’s chorus by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer for the Harvard Glee Club in 1936, and Abbie Betinis’ humorous and imaginative Songs of Smaller Creatures, which captures the sonic essence of buzzing bees, spindly spider legs and graceful butterflies. Two works by Samuel Barber are also featured – Sure on this Shining Night, with text from James Agee’s first published collection of poems, Permit Me Voyage, and Agnus Dei, a 1967 transcription for eight-part choir of his deeply emotional Adagio for Strings, which is conducted by LAMC Associate Conductor Lesley Leighton. The program concludes with a show-stopping finale of “blow the roof off” arrangements by four masters of the American spiritual – William Dawson, Jester Hairston, André Thomas and Moses Hogan.
Kirchner is currently in his first season as LAMC Composer in Residence and Plath Songs is the first of his works to be premiered during his tenure. The 25-minute suite for choir, piano and percussion, including vibraphone, bass drum, triangle, and tubular bells, is set to seven of Sylvia Plath’s most well known poems: Morning Song, Mirror, Lady Lazarus, Tulips, Poppies in October, Child and Blackberrying, chosen for their beauty, brilliance and sheer impact. States Kirchner, “I’m particularly excited about unveiling this project because it represents an aspect of my writing that will be new to the LAMC audience. While the piece retains a very vocal and melodic approach, its harmonic palette is multi-dimensional in keeping with the expressive breadth and complexity of Plath’s poetry.”
Kirchner, Gershon and KUSC’s Alan Chapman participate in ListenUp!, the pre-concert talk at 6 pm, sponsored by the Flora L. Thornton Foundation.
Tickets range from $29 – $134. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.