(Posted October 31, 2016)

Juniata College Concert Choir will perform six classic madrigals at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.
Juniata College Concert Choir will perform six classic madrigals at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Concert Choir will perform six classic madrigals and selections from a Jacques Offenbach opera at its fall concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

            The concert is free and open to the public. The Concert Choir is directed by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music.

            The concert will open with six madrigals, a vocal musical form that flourished from the 1500s through the 1600s. It features small groups of singers, usually three to eight, singing unaccompanied.

            The first selection is “Find Knacks for Ladies,” written by John Dowland. The main character is a peddler selling knickknacks and the song was originally a poem written by an anonymous author.

            Next, the choir sings “Fair Phyllis I Saw Sitting All Alone,” by John Farmer. The song describes a young shepherdess tending her flock near a mountain. The ensemble then sings an Italian madrigal, “Lieto godea sedendo,” by Giovanni Gabrieli. Gabrieli was a Venetian composer celebrated in his time for his sacred music. He was principal organist at Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica.

Madrigal is a vocal musical form that flourished from the 1500s through the 1600s. It features small groups of singers, usually three to eight, singing unaccompanied.

            The madrigal “The Silver Swan,” by Orlando Gibbons, is an English composition that laments the legend that swans sing only just before their deaths. Gibbons was one of the most versatile composers of his time (1583-1629). Another Italian composition, “Ecco mormorar l’onde,” by Claudio Monteverdi, is an ode to dawn, with lyrics written by Torquato Tasso.

            The last madrigal to be performed is “Too Much I Once Lamented,” by Thomas Tomkins. Tomkins was a Welsh-born composer who wrote the piece lamenting the death of a lover.

            The choir will next perform “la belle Héléne," by Jacques Offenbach. The composition is an opera bouffe, which means that the opera’s plot incorporates comedy, satire, parody and farce. The story is centered on the legend of Helen of Troy and her abduction.

            The opera has six sections: “Procession of the Kings of Greece,” “Couplet of the Kings,” “Lament,” “Bacchanale,” “The Game of Geese” and “Finale.”

            The concert closes with a 20th century  selection. “Celebrations,” by Vincent Perischetti.

Perischetti was a Philadelphia native who taught music at the Julliard School for many years before his death in 1987. His most famous student is Philip Glass.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.