Songs in the Key of Love
This was the title of the last concert this season for the Mountainside Master Chorale. It was held at Garrison Auditorium in the Claremont Colleges last night and this afternoon. I went last night. It was wonderful for me, as usual. I got to see and hear my old choir and buddies who I sang with for six years. I miss them. I miss the music and the performance challenge. Bruce Rogers is, by far, the best director I ever sang under. He struck a chord again last night.
The highlight for him, I believe was when he led the Chorale in "Jenny Rebecca". It shows the love for a child. He recalled that he hadn't had his choirs sing this song for 16 years. It was then that his new, beautiful daughter was "...four days old" as the song goes. He dedicated it to her and winked at her when he took his bow.
The theme of "Love Songs" was carried through time with some early, more classical numbers, all the way to several more modern jazz pieces. Pro Mojica, the pianist/accompaniest had some riffs on which to brilliantly solo. He got several rounds of aplause and some standing "O's", as did the chorale at the end. Several pieces were done acapella and the balance, enunciation, blend and harmony were exquisite.
My favorites were: "Lebenslust" (Joy of Living) by Franz Schubert. It showed the Love of Life. It was light and lilting with a distinct Germany signature. It was sung in German. Translated:
"For life to be happy, you can't be alone, If you should be lonely, the fault is your own.
If you will but trust in the love of a friend, In joy you will find that your sadness will end!"
Love in American Folklore was shown by "Nelly Bly" by Stephen Foster. The tune is very familiar to me, a fun song. Love of the Lord was shown by "Precious Lord" a spiritual by Thomas Dorsey. Rich and layered. There were six "show tunes" we were challenged to guess which musical they were from. I got two. My favorites: "All I ask of you" by Lloyd Weber from Phantom of the Opera. "With a song in my heart" by Rogers and Hart from Kismet (?) I think. It was done acapella. "Just in Time" and "Time after Time" were also perfect. The jazz numbers I liked had an electric bass and drums with Pro's wonderful accompaniment. "When I fall in Love" and "Someone to watch over me" were the best for me. The finale was the gospel "Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher" They really rocked out on that.
Quotes from the program notes: "Nothing on earth is so well suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music." Martin Luther Robert Schumann, great composer: "It is music's lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the human heart." This is what my love of music, choral music, continues to do for me. I bless and thank my mother who started that love in me with her music and appreciation for church music. I can still hear her sitting down to her piano and playing her favorite hymns and singing them by herself. I'm certain, to this day, it was her way of worshiping. It is mine alone also. Bob