After our great collaboration with the Colorado Wind Ensemble on wonderful repertoire a week ago (Bruckner, Kellogg, Schlenker, etc.) — and the concert was relatively well attended for a chilly but sunny February weekend — one might wonder what’s next for St. Martin’s Chamber Choir?

Tonight we are doing our annual concert with the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s top choir, the Chorale (MB Krueger and Michael Kornelsen, co-directors), this year in conjunction with the Varsity Singers of Arvada West High School, under the direction of Chris Maunu. Each choir will do a few works on their own, and then join up on a few combined works, which this year include Stanford’s “Beati quorum via,” a new piece in Spanish by SMCC singer (and MSUD alum) Bryan Grosbach; and the poignant “Angel Band” by Shaun Kirchner. That’s tonight, 7:30pm, at the King Center Concert Hall, Auraria Campus. Tickets are, I believe, $10 and available at the box office.

St. Martin’s next season concerts are April 13, 14, and 15, entitled “Mozart and Scarlatti: Fathers and Sons.” The concert consists of only four pieces (though some of them are rather extended), one each by the father/son duos of Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, and Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart. The pieces all have the accompaniment of basso continuo, and we are pleased to be drawing our continuo players from the fabulous Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. The pieces are as follows:

  • “Salve Regina” by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
  • “Stabat Mater” by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
  • Missa brevis in C by Leopold Mozart (1719-1787)
  • “Venite populi” by Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791)

The centerpiece of the concert is almost certainly the 28-minute “Stabat Mater” by D. Scarlatti. More famous for his keyboard sonatas, written while he was composer at the Spanish royal court in Madrid, Domenico Scarlatti wrote a good deal of sacred vocal music earlier in his life while working at churches in Italy. The “Stabat Mater” is in 10 parts, SSSSAATTBB (yes, that’s four soprano parts!), and consists of nine polyphonic movements of incredible pathos, depicting the sorrows of Jesus’ mother as she watched him die on the cross. Each part has both solo and tutti sections, so I have deployed 20 singers, 2-on-a-part, based on this. It is, I think, his vocal masterpiece; it’s unlike anything else he wrote, and almost more of a chamber work than a choral one.

The other longish work on the program is Leopold Mozart’s Missa brevis in C. This is a piece that was formerly attributed to Wolfgang for a century or more, and hence bears a “K number” (K 115); but it has been conclusively determined in the last half-century that it is actually by Leopold. It is light and effervescent in comparison to the “Stabat Mater” — one might even say not much more weighty than a piece of lace; but I am fond of the piece for its tunefulness, its delicacy, and its buoyancy. More about the other pieces on the program next week!

Concert details:
Friday, April 13, 7:30pm – Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge
Saturday, April 14, 7:30pm – St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
Sunday, April 15, 3:00pm – St. Paul Lutheran Community of Faith, Denver

As usual, advance tickets available from our website, or by calling the office at (303) 298-1970.