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Commonwealth Chorale presents “From the Fantastical to the Familiar”
May 11 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT
On Saturday, May 11, Commonwealth Chorale dedicates its Newton Festival of the Arts concert to the memory of two Newton champions of the arts: Linda R. Plaut and Susan Stuart Kaplan. It will be an evening of poetic imagery set to music that ranges from witty madrigal to sentimental country songs. Gian Carlo Menotti’s comedic madrigal opera, The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore, tells a fantastical story. An old and rich poet lives in a castle and has an exotic zoo. He is so peculiar that the townfolk mimic and gossip about him as, on three Sundays, he parades his three favorite pets down the main street. Under the guise of this fairy tale is a caustic critique of affectation and materialism.The music was described by the Time Magazine critic who attended the world premiere as “a singular and engaging combination of ancient contrapuntal harmonies and tart, modern, dramatic values.” The critic also singled out the melancholy beauty of the twelfth and last madrigal with “the chorus singing almost liturgically …” Menotti said of the twelfth madrigal: “It is the most deeply and personally felt of anything I’ve written. It is something I would like for my own funeral.” With a small chamber ensemble and an engaging range of musical textures, this piece is sure to delight.
Randall Thompson, a Commonwealth Composer, wrote Frostiana, a compilation of seven country songs, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the town of Amherst, MA. Thompson takes us to the familiar New England countryside with this setting of seven Robert Frost poems which involve the simple pleasures of walking in the woods, gazing at a star, listening to thrush, and planting a garden. Frost’s poetry is matched by seven beautifully-crafted movements capturing both the essence and impact of the poet’s verse. Pianist Mark Feldhusen will accompany the chorale.
The concert takes place in Second Church of Newton on May 11, 2019 at 8 pm. Further details and tickets are available at www.CommonwealthChorale.com