Alumni and University Choruses | Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
UC Davis Symphony Orchestra | Christian Baldini, music director
Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens
Hubert Parry (1848–1918) is an oft-overlooked English composer of the Romantic era. Parry absorbed musical influence from both Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner, and managed to filter a distinctly English style through these influences in Blest Pair of Sirens, a choral setting of John Milton’s At a solemn Musick. Through careful word painting, Parry musically highlights salient emotional moments of the poem. The result of pairing his stately and solemn musical setting with Milton’s heartfelt, triumphant poetry is the quintessential ode to heavenly ascension.
Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem
with Mary Wilson, soprano, and Jesse Blumberg, baritone
Johannes Brahms (1833–97) composed the Requiem between 1865 and 1868, almost certainly in the wake of his mother’s death. As with the requiems of Mozart and Verdi, the Brahms Requiem is a sacred piece that stands on its own in concert. Brahms opted to use Luther’s German bible texts rather than Latin texts. Not only is the work a testament to Brahms’s sense of meticulous, creative craftsmanship—which is reflected, for example, in the first movement’s lack of violins—but it is also a testament to the notion that the living need comfort in the midst of the dead or dying.
In 2002, Professor Jeffrey Thomas invited alumni of the UC Davis choral programs to join the University Chorus and Chamber Singers in their inaugural performance at Mondavi Center. Over the past few years, the Alumni Chorus has evolved into an integral part of the Department of Music’s concert seasons.