A Question

Get ready for our first question to you after our fall concert. Many of us will want to know which music selection was your favorite? Remember to bring a pen to jot down notes on your program for reference when we ask you.

This is a tough year to pick a favorite. You may think of Vivaldi’s Gloria as having nine choruses. There are several of these that are swirling around my brain throughout the week. (See my article “Earworms” which is also found on this website.) Gloria also has a duet written for angels and three solos, all sung by members of Opus 24.

We will have three selections sung by our recipients of the Decatur Choral Society’s voice lesson scholarships. We are looking forward to hearing this generation of future musicians. You will also enjoy listening to our accompanist, Beth Creighton, play a piece for us and later play with the string quartet with Dr. Bruce Gibbons playing a duel piano part in a very dramatic arrangement of Angels from the Realms of Glory. The Heritage quartet will accompany Opus as well as play some selections of their own.

This concert is going to be a special one with a nice variety of music, and is just right for starting our Christmas season. Please join us on November 25, 2014. We look forward to seeing you, and — what will be your favorite piece?

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society

Background for Vivaldi’s Gloria

At our November 25, 2014 concert, Opus 24 will sing Vivaldi’s Gloria. This is one of many liturgical and secular pieces by the prolific composer, probably written around 1715, and is one of his best known pieces.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), Baroque composer, violin virtuoso, teacher, and priest, lived almost all of his life in Venice. He was ordained in 1703, but the clerical life was not for him. That year he accepted a music teaching position at Ospedale della Pieta, a home and academy for abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise discarded children. The Pieta was well regarded due to the high quality music education it provided for its choir and orchestra. Much of the music Vivaldi composed was for his students’ use.

Venice was a vibrant and dynamic city in the early 18th century, and there was a demand for music for festivals, feasts, parties, and religious services. Vivaldi filled many commissions for oratorios, concerts (mostly for violin), and operas. He commanded a high price. During a ten year period he composed 140 concerti.

He was sensitive to criticism, and vain about his skills—both as a composer and as a violinist. He had his detractors at the Pieta, and in one rough patch with its its board of directors, his contract was not renewed. He free-lanced for a time until the board came to its senses, rehired Vivaldi, gave him a promotion, and a raise in pay.

Vivaldi was an innovative composer. He expanded the concerto form as well as musical rhythmic and harmonic structures. Toward the end of his life, his compositional style fell out of favor. To make ends meet he sold many of his manuscripts.

The Gloria was rediscovered in the late 1920’s, along with 300 of his concertos, 19 operas, and over 100 vocal/instrumental pieces. Only in 1957 was the Gloria published in its original form.

Carmen Dunn
Decatur Choral Society Board of Directors

Gloria! Fall Concert 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 7:30 pm
St. Patrick Catholic Church
407 East Eldorado, Decatur, IL

I believe everyone I know has spoken the word “ Gloria!” or some derivation of it. Perhaps it could be someone’s name, a word of excitement, or just part of a familiar Christmas Carol. This season’s concert is all about that three syllable word. The featured work is the Gloria in D Major By Antonio Vivaldi, a master of the Italian Baroque period.

The multi-movement work takes us through the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” portion of the traditional mass settings of the church. It features solos and a duet performed by our own Opus 24 singers. The string quintet accompaniment features the Heritage String Quartet plus double bass and also Beth Creighton playing keyboard. “Gloria” is one of the most beloved pieces performed and heard during the Christmas season.

Also being sung on this concert are several new pieces by Dan Forrest, Will Todd, René Clausen and Frode Fjellheim. One of the pieces is featured in the recent film “Frozen.” Several vocal scholarship winners will display their talent and both Beth Creighton and the Heritage Quartet will perform solo works.

This is a very “tune-filled” concert. All of us in Opus are excited to share this concert with you. Thanks for coming.

- Milt Scott, Conductor – Opus 24

For more information about our Fall 2014 concert, click here.