(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Berkshire Lyric, a choral performance and education organization that will celebrate a half-century next year, will present Karl Jenkins’s iconic choral powerhouse, Requiem, on Sunday, May 20, at 3 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Church on North Street.
Requiem is one of the 21st century’s most recognizable choral pieces, and also one of its most unique. In addition to traditional Latin commonly encountered in a Requiem Mass, the piece also incorporates movements featuring Japanese haiku poetry and the sounds of Asian instruments. Requiem was written in 2005 by Jenkins, a composer with a background in film music. It is a very popular work in Britain, and this will reportedly be its first performance in western Massachusetts.
Berkshire Lyric’s performance will include full orchestration with strings, harp, flute, French horn and percussion, as well as both the Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the Blafield Children’s Chorus, an addition not commonly seen in performances of Requiem.
Timothy Passetto, baritone, Miles Herr, tenor, and Deborah Rentz-Moore, mezzo-soprano, will be featured soloists. Passetto and Herr are both past winners of the Berkshire Lyric Young Singers competition; Passetto recently graduated from the North Carolina School for the Arts and is attending the Boston Conservatory of Music this fall. Herr is currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rentz-Moore, a frequent soloist in the Northeast, will be returning to her native Berkshires to perform.
The program will be rounded off with shorter English masterpieces by Tallis, Purcell and Holst.
Tickets are $25, and children may attend free with adult.
Karl Jenkins is a Welsh composer and musician whose career has straddled the worlds of jazz, rock, and classical music, including a stint as a member of the progressive-rock group Soft Machine.
Among the most-performed living composers in the world, Jenkins made his mark writing commercial music for Levi’s, British Airways, Renault, Tag Heuer, Pepsi, De Beers and Delta Airlines. For Delta, he wrote the famous song, “Adiemus,” that accompanies jets in flight. “Adiemus” combined classical with ethnic vocal sounds and percussion with an invented language and topped classical and “pop” charts around the world. His Armed Man: A Mass For Peace has been performed nearly 1,000 times in 20 different countries since the CD was released, and his recorded output has resulted in seventeen gold and platinum disc awards.
In addition to presenting concerts, Berkshire Lyric supports a wide range of music education projects in Berkshire County including the annual Young Musician’s Scholarship Program, the Berkshire Lyric Choral Scholars Program and a tuition-free summer Choral Camp for children.
Berkshire Lyric has been a fixture in the Berkshire musical landscape for 49 years. Berkshire Lyric started as a lyric theatre performance group and has since grown to be the only multi-generational performance and educational group in the Berkshires, providing scholarships, tuition-free education, and quality performance opportunities to Berkshire residents of all ages. As a non-profit, federally tax exempt charitable organization, Berkshire Lyric is supported in part by grants from local Massachusetts Cultural Councils, local corporations and gifts from individual contributors.