Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
  Vol. 19                                           ONLINE  ONLINE  ONLINE                                  January 2017    
Providing financial support   since 1999 for The Rockbridge Choral Society and The Rockbridge Youth Chorale


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January
  Birthdays  
in Music
 
Emmanuel Charbrier 1/18/1941

Jerome Kern 1/27/1885
Frederick Delius 1/29/1862

RCS 2016/2017 Concert Season -  
January 19, 2017 -
Music at Noon,
Inspiring French Carols,
William McCorkle, Organist,
Lexington
Presbyterian Church,
12 Noon

January 22, 2017 -
Vivaldi:Gloria;
Charpentier:
Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass for Christmas); Scarlatti: Su le Sponde del Tebro (On the Banks
of the Tiber)
Lexington Presbyterian Church, 3 PM

April 2, 2017 -
Rachmaninoff:
Vespers, aka,
All-Night Vigil
Lexington Presbyterian Church, 7 PM
 




Midnight Mass for Christmas
     On January 22 at 3 PM at the Lexington Presbyterian Church, the Rockbridge Choral Society will present Charpentier's lovely Midnight Mass for Christmas , or Messe de Minuit pour Noel with soloists and a string quintet. This little musical jewel has a very interesting history.
     Charpentier probably composed it around 1690 while he was the maître de musique (master of music) for the Jesuit church of St. Louis in Paris. By the 1600's use of popular carols in church music was an accepted practice in England and in Europe. In France, during Charpentier's day, noëls (carols or folksongs) figured prominently in the French organ repertoire as well. Charpentier particularly liked composing for the Christmas season. The church liturgy of the day around the Christmas season permitted the singing and playing of such Christmas-themed folksongs. Though the melding of secular folksongs with the church music of the day was common, Charpentier's idea of basing a whole mass on these songs was completely original. There are eleven noels in the work, many of which are dance-like in character, relating to the carols' secular origins. In addition to the carol melodies that he adapted to fit various parts of the mass text, Charpentier also composed some new material. These additions fit seamlessly in and among the carol melodies with which the French congregants would have been familiar. Charpentier's blend of old and familiar with the new insured the work would have popular appeal and that it would stand the test of time. Many of the French carols incorporated in the Midnight Mass are still familiar to audiences today.
     As it turns out, Charpentier would need all the help he could muster to get his music performed and heard. His contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Lully, had a stranglehold on Parisian music at the time. During and beyond his lifetime, Charpentier's music for the most part became obscure and very little of it was published. Only in the late 1900's has he assumed his rightful place in the catalog of great French music.
     If you would like to hear some of the carols on which the Midnight Mass is based, join our musical director, William McCorkle, for his Music at Noon organ concert on Thursday, January 19, 2017, 12 noon, at the Lexington Presbyterian Church, downtown Lexington. It will be a delightful half hour of Christmas noels. Then join the RCS there on January 22, 3 PM, for Charpentier's Midnight Mass for Christmas. And, yes, we know it's not Christmas any longer. Think of it as an extension of Epiphany! 

Two Tenors, a Baritone and
Some Strings
     
Nick Leitch
    The RCS will be joined on January 22 by a few of our favorite soloists including soprano, Christine Fairfield. Countertenor Nate Pence, recently of Chanticleer fame, will be with us along with tenor, Nick Leitch, everyone's favorite singing lawyer, who also probably missed his calling as a stand-up comedian.
Nate Pence 

Gregory Parker 
Rounding out the trio, we  
welcome baritone,Dr. Gregory Parker. Greg is professor of music and chair of the Department of Music at Washington and Lee.
    All our singers will be ably underpinned by our instrumentalists for the occasion. They are Risa Browder and Joan Griffing on violin, Evelyn Grau on viola, and John Moran on the cello. Please, join us and plan to come to our reception immediately after! We are excited to have a chance to mingle with our fans! 
       
Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
communication@rcs.org
Rockbridge Choral Society
PO Box 965
Lexington, VA 24450