(KINDERHOOK, N.Y.) – “20th Century Music for Strings and Women’s Voices,” a program of works by Vaughan Williams, Britten, Saint-Saëns, Poulenc and Foote, takes place at The School | Jack Shainman Gallery on Sunday, February 19, at 1pm, as part of the Concerts in the Village (CITV) series. CITV artistic director David Smith will conduct the Broad Street Orchestra and the women of the Broad Street Chorale in the 20th concert of the series, the third at The School.
Soloists include sopranos Amanda Boyd and Caroline Dunigan and flutist Elizabeth Chinery.
The roster of the Broad Street Orchestra includes many of the region’s finest and most experienced string players. Vaughan Williams’ justly famous Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis opens the concert and is for many a premiere example of string sonority. Written in 1910 for a performance in England’s Gloucester Cathedral, this is a work ideally suited to the resonant acoustic of the main exhibition space of The School.
The exciting song cycle “Les Illuminations of 1939” follows and is one of Benjamin Britten’s most ingenious creations. Setting poems by the elusive French writer Arthur Rimbaud, Les Illuminations is a work of incredible variety, and one full of musical challenges. The cycle is ideally suited to the well-known talents of singer Amanda Boyd, a frequent CITV guest artist. Although resident in Columbia County, Ms. Boyd is originally from England, where her teachers included the great soprano Janet Baker. According to Smith, “Amanda and I have for quite a number of years been tempted by ‘Les Illuminations.’ I am thrilled that we are at last realizing our earlier discussions.”
Following intermission, the strings of the Broad Street Orchestra are joined by the women of the Broad Street Chorale, soprano Caroline Dunigan and flutist Elizabeth Chinery, for the incredibly lush but unjustifiably neglected “La Nuit” (1900) of Camille Saint-Saëns. With its many ethereal moments, and even bird-like imitations, “La Nuit” will prove another work ideally suited to the acoustics of The School. Caroline Dunigan is a recipient of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Encouragement Award and a graduate student of the Bard College Conservatory of Music Vocal Arts Program. She has been hailed as “a regal bearing, sparkling soprano . . .”
Francis Poulenc’s mystical “Litanies à la Vierge Noire” for women’s voices with organ was written in 1936, but revised in 1947, when the composer substituted strings for the organ. It is this seldom heard revision which will be performed on February 12. Poulenc’s “Litanies” is a mystical, chant-like creation, and another work ideally suited to The School.
With Arthur Foote’s Suite for String Orchestra, op. 63, the concert returns to America. Foote was one of a very fine group of composers known variously as the Boston Six, the Second New England School, or the New England Classicists. This suite was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1909, and features virtuoso string writing and great textural variety.
On the afternoon of the concert, The School will be open to the public beginning at 1pm. The current exhibition is ANDRES SERRANO: Selected Works 1984-2015 and Home Room, a multimedia group exhibition featuring works by Huma Bhabha, Nick Cave, Turiya Magadlela, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Claudette Schreuders, Laurie Simmons, Michael Snow, Becky Suss and Carlos Vega. Note: This exhibition contains graphic imagery including violence, nudity and sexual content.
For further information and to assure seating please visit Concerts in the Village. The School | Jack Shainman Gallery is at 25 Broad Street in the Village of Kinderhook.