April 1, 2010
Contact: Sara Leonard
Concert and Production Manager

AMHERST, Mass. —The Amherst College Concert Choir, directed by Mallorie Chernin, will present its annual spring concert on Saturday, May 1, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the ArmsMusicCenter at AmherstCollege. Assistant directed by Jimmy Laff ’09  and accompanied by Philip Dupont ’12 and Roger Creel ’13 on the piano, the group will perform songs that reflect the idea of old and new through texts, styles, genres and movements.

The concert will begin with Randall Thompson’s beloved version of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” followed by ConcordiaCollege composer René Clausen’s version. It will continue with Johannes Brahms’ motet “O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf,” an obvious nod by the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The piece uses an old model from the Baroque, yet is set in the harmonic language of the Romantic era.

Next, the choir will sing three different settings of the “Ave Maria”: an “old” setting by Igor Stravinsky, a 20th-century version from Amherst College alumnus Gregory Brown ’98 and then the world premiere of a piece by David Marenberg ’09. The overarching theme of this final setting of the ancient text—which uses elements of chant within a more modern harmonic palette—is prayer, said Marenberg: “The choir, as congregation and individual, prays for salvation from its sins,” he explained. Whether or not one identifies with the Catholic text, he added, “the concept of prayer, as a means for repentance and salvation, is universally human. The crumbling of our brave exterior, the willingness to place our fate in the hands of another power, leaves us exposed and vulnerable… Instead of insisting upon its originality, I hope this piece illustrates the cyclical nature of music, looking backwards and reaching forwards at the same time.”

The program will wrap up with “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine” by Eric Whitacre, paired with “Si ch’io vorrei morrire” of Claudio Monteverdi, and then the dance movement of the South African song “Shumayelah,” which takes listeners from old South Africa, to the mines, to the shooting of AK-47s and anti-apartheid sentiment.

This concert is open to the public at no charge. Seating is by general admission. For more information please contact director Mallorie Chernin at 413/542-2484 or email mchernin@amherst.edu.