His Majestie's Clerkes and Chicago A Cappella | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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His Majestie's Clerkes and Chicago A Cappella


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Songs of farewell are on the bill of this joint concert by two of the city's best a cappella choirs, one established (His Majestie's Clerkes) and the other a relative newcomer (Chicago A Cappella). The selections cover five centuries and a wide range of styles and nations, from Josquin des Prez' keening Absolon, fili mi (circa 1500) to Noam Elkies's delicately somber "Meditations on Mortality" (1988), but almost all of them deal with the elemental experiences of breakup and death. The centerpiece is Hubert Parry's Songs of Farewell, an intricately designed set of six sorrowful motets. Other well-known composers represented include William Billings, the most skillful of early American hymnsters, Bach (the motet Komm Jesu, komm), and Poulenc (his theatrical Ave Verum Corpus). Also noteworthy is Bernice Johnson Reagon's bittersweet "They Are Falling All Around Me" (1986), which this African American musician dedicates to her role models "who lived to make their music and died singing." Anne Heider and Jonathan Miller, both sticklers for early-music authenticity, are the conductors. Saturday, 8 PM, First Congregational Church, 1106 Chestnut, Western Springs. Next February 26, 8 PM, Mallinckrodt Chapel, 1041 Ridge, Wilmette. Next Sunday, February 27, 2:30 PM, Quigley Chapel, 103 E. Chestnut. 461-0723.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steve Leonard.

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