A Spirit to Remember

choral society 2013Asheville Choral Society to Perform Stravinsky and Boulanger

The Asheville Choral Society (ACS) is pleased to announce the final concert of its 36th season, “A Spirit to Remember,” directed by Dr. Melodie Galloway.

“For our final concert of the season, we turn to one of the great eras in music and the arts: fin-de-siecle Paris,” said ACS Music Director Dr. Melodie Galloway. “It was a time of unsurpassed artistic convergence and creativity, and we hope to convey to our audience the exuberance and passion of this remarkable music.” The program for “A Spirit to Remember” includes Igor Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms; music by Lili Boulanger, Les Sirenes (The Sirens), Soir sur la Plaine (Evening on the Plain), Hymne au Soleil (Hymn to the Sun), and Psaume 24.

“The musicianship of the Asheville Choral Society singers will be raised to new heights with this concert,” noted Dr. Galloway, “as both Stravinsky and Boulanger are brilliant composers of very challenging music that is both Impressionistic and Expressionistic in style and sound.”

The 100-voice chorus will be accompanied by an ensemble of brass, percussion, and reeds, along with two pianos on the Stravinsky piece.

Stravinsky composed the Symphony of Psalms in 1929 as a commission for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in celebration of its 50th anniversary. It was named by Time magazine as the century’s best classical piece and lauded by music critics, including Terry Teachout, who remarked,” For all the anxiety in ‘Symphony of Psalms,’ there are also moments of surprising tenderness . . . coming out of absolutely nowhere at the beginning of the third movement, the hallelujahs from the choir are like a shaft of sunlight suddenly breaking through the stained-glass windows of a great cathedral.”

While Nadia Boulanger is well known as a composer and teacher of staggering influence on 20th century composers, her younger sister Lili Boulanger is an equally fascinating figure. Though in frail health, Lili had a precocious and highly acclaimed musical career. In 1913, at the age of 19, she became the first woman to win the First Prize in the Prix de Rome and she continued to compose haunting vocal and choral works until her death at age 24.

>> A Spirit to Remember. Two performances will be held; Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m. at Diana Wortham Theatre, 2 South Pack Square in downtown Asheville.

Tickets available by phone at (828) 232-2060, at www.ashevillechoralsociety.org, and at the door. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students; discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are also available.