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Juniata Concert Choir Performs Music of Johannes Brahms

(Posted October 28, 2013)

Russell Shelley, Alma Stine Heckler Professor of Music, conducts the concert choir.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Johannes Brahms, a German composer noted for his deeply romantic compositions, will have the international side of his work showcased by the Juniata College Concert Choir in the ensemble's fall concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

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

The bulk of the choir's performance will interpret the work of Brahms, but the concert will open with "A World of Our Dreams," written by Jeffrey Ames, associate professor of music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. The song was also performed at the inauguration of Juniata President James Troha on Oct. 18. The lyrics ably represent Juniata's commitment to peace and service through such lyrics as "Can you dream a world for our future? Can you dream within your heart?‚?®It is a world without distress, the God of peace is there."

The choir will then perform Brahms "Shicksalslied," which translates into English as "Song of Destiny," a towering choral work that stands as one of the composer's greatest compositions.

The ensemble will transition out of the Romantic period into postmodern 20th century music as they perform "Wedding Cantata," by Daniel Pinkham, a composer who creates hints of dissonance in the piece. The four movements end with "Set Me as a Seal," which is a signature piece for the Juniata choir.

The centerpiece of the concert will be the "Zieguenerlieder" or "Gypsy Songs" created by Brahms, a composer noted for his love of Hungarian music (Brahms also composed the famous "Hungarian Dances"). Each of the 11 songs is about two minutes in length and each sketches an audible portrait of Hungarian culture.

The next selection, "A Farewell," is written by Molly Ijames, a contemporary American composer who specializes in choral works inspired by sacred texts. She often composes songs, including "A Farewell," for the Rivertree Singers.

The concert concludes with "Segalariak," by Josu Elberlin, a Basque composer whose works are performed internationally. The English title for the piece is "The Reapers."
The Juniata Concert Choir is one of three choirs performing at the college. The 50-person choir tours every spring semester, focusing its program on historical sacred music. Juniata choirs have performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Recent tours have taken the choir to Guatemala in 2013, Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2012 and Hungary and Romania in 2011.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.