Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three Bs of the Greater Middletown Chorale

Submitted by Deirdre Roberts and Joyce Kirkpatrick

One defining feature of a fine choral group lies in the ensemble’s ability to shift convincingly from the stylistic differences of one composer’s music to that of another. The Greater Middletown Chorale flourishes with varied programming.

Joseph D’Eugenio (pictured), now in his fifteenth year as artistic director of the GMC, has selected an ambitious program containing pieces by Bernstein, Britten, and Brahms for the group’s concert at 7:00 p.m. on May 12th at the Bethany Covenant Church in Berlin, CT.

With customary enthusiasm, Mr. D’Eugenio offers: “One of the exciting parts about the GMC is that the singers are open to performing established choral repertoire by known composers and premiering new works by contemporary composers. This chorale distinguishes itself by varied programming. In this concert we have large ensemble pieces such as the Chichester Psalms by Bernstein and Nänie by Johannes Brahms, but we also have Rejoice in the Lamb by Britten. This is performed by a chamber group of just sixteen singers, joined by a boy soprano and a harpist. Also, there is a trio comprised of a soprano, cello and piano performing the gorgeous pair of Op. 91 songs by Brahms. This kind of programming is stimulating for the ensemble and audience alike. ”

The GMC is drawn to the new ideas and creative energy that visiting artists offer.
This version of the Chichester Psalms is scored for a four-part choir, organ and treble soloist, and Branford’s 12-year-old Henry Wheelock Hayden brings his clear, soprano voice to ethereal effect in this work. The demanding percussion and harp parts will be deftly played by harpist, Grace Cloutier from New York and percussionist, Donald Holm from Boston. The chorale’s excellent accompanist, Allan Conway, will move from the piano to the organ for this piece.

Pianist, Joseph D’Eugenio (the very same), and soprano, Susan von Reichenbach, already have a history of recital performances together, particularly along the shoreline in Connecticut where they have entranced audiences at The Kate and The First Congregational Church in Old Lyme. In November, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme will be the site of their next performance together. First they will form a trio with cellist, Ann West, to perform the pair of Brahms songs: Gestillte Sehnsecht and Geistliches Wiegenlied on the May 12th program. The audience will enjoy the contrast of these with the Brahms Nänie, performed in the latter half of the program by the entire chorale.

While immersed in preparing for the upcoming program, the GMC nonetheless looks ahead toward next year’s commissioned project. Letter From Italy, 1944 is being composed by Wesleyan’s own music faculty member, Sarah Meneely-Kyder with lyrics by her sister, Nancy Meneely. The epic work is based on the story of their father, Dr. John Meneely who served in the 10th Mountain Division in Southern Italy in World War II.

The Greater Middletown Chorale is a private, non-profit organization providing great music for the people of Connecticut. It is funded with the support of the State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development’s Connecticut Office of the Arts, Middletown Commission on the Arts, Aetna Foundation, Chevron Humankind Grants and Pfizer Foundation.

Submitted by Deirdre Roberts and Joyce Kirkpatrick

For more information about the Greater Middletown Chorale: or call: 860-316-4854

Contact: Dawn Alger, Concert & Events Manager, The Greater Middletown Chorale

(860) 316-4854

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