Southeast symphony, choral groups unite for Vivaldi's ‘Gloria'

Friday, December 2, 2011
Southeast’s Symphony and coral group joins together for a concert Tuesday. (Submitted photo)

Three groups will share the stage at the Bedell to peform a Vivaldi classic.

The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, the Southeast Missouri State University Choral Union and the University Choir share the River Campus stage Tuesday as they unite to perform Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria."

"Gloria" will be the feature of the 7:30 p.m. concert at Bedell Perfomance Hall.

Dr. Sara Edgerton will conduct the symphony, while Dr. Peter J. Durow will lead the choral groups. Edgerton and Durow are faculty members in the university music department.

Edgerton said that in recent years the choral groups have joined the symphony for two concerts each season -- one in each semester -- and that the choral performances have been well-received by the public.

While coordinating the schedules and rehearsal times of both the symphony and the choral groups make such combined performances a little more challenging, Edgerton said the end result is worth it.

"I think people really enjoy the combined programs," Edgerton said. "I think it gives a nice diversity to the program."

The Choral Union is a community choir and open to nonstudents, but the University Choir is made up of students only.

While the Baroque composer Vivaldi is best known for "The Four Seasons," he also composed many choral pieces and operas, with perhaps the most well-known being "Gloria."

In a news release, Edgerton described "Gloria" as containing "colorful orchestration and eloquent choral parts."

Several of the movements in "Gloria" have vocal solos. Student soloists will be sopranos Brittney Leimkuehler, Magda Salem and Megan Statler, along with mezzo-soprano Anna Christine Woiwood.

Concluding the program is "Three 17th Century English Lyrics." Composer James Mulholland, who is professor of music at Butler University, wrote music to accompany traditional English poems "Fair and True," "Come Let's Be Merry" and "When I Lay Me Down to Sleep."

The symphony will open the performance with Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4 in D Minor. Originally written in 1841, it was reworked years later into the version that is better known. Edgerton said the work "is imbued with Schumann's characteristic lyricism, tunefulness and appeal."

Edgerton and Durow will talk about the pieces during a preshow discussion at 6:45 p.m. in the performance hall. The talk is free to all ticket holders.

The preconcert lectures have become a regular feature of symphony performances in recent years. Edgerton compared the talks to watching a pregame show before a football game.

"We really try to heighten people's awareness as to what they'll be hearing," Edgerton said.

Rather than just providing a dry history of the composers and the compositions, Edgerton said she and Durow will discuss interpretive issues, such as What Schumann is trying convey? and What the piece is trying to express.

Tickets for the performance are still available at the River Campus box office and can be purchased in person, by phone at 651-2265 or online at www.rivercampusevents.com.

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