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Chamber Singers season ends on full-magnitude, superb note

by Eric E. Harrison | March 18, 2018 at 3:25 a.m.

There was plenty of joyful singing going on at Friday night's Arkansas Chamber Singers season closer at Little Rock's St. James United Methodist Church.

The Chamber Singers, with John Erwin on the podium and a dozen-plus members of the Arkansas Symphony, gave a superb performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Coronation" Mass, K.317.

It's one of the composer's sunniest pieces of church music, and the singers gave it full magnitude.

A super quartet of soloists with church-filling voices -- Maria Fasciano, soprano; Marisa Colon, alto; Matthew Newman, tenor; and Stephen Edds, bass -- made up almost a mini-choir during their passages, with a fine blend and balance.

I initially saw the second half of the short program (the "interval" that turned into a full-length intermission plus the introduction of two scholarship winners took longer than either half of music) as filler, but the two pieces by 20th-21st century composer Ola Gjeilo turned out to be equally impressive.

Serenity, which Gjeilo set using the text of O Magnum Mysterium, was simply gorgeous, with rich vocal harmonies atop an obbligato cello (played most beautifully by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra principal David Gerstein). And Song of the Universal, with a text excerpted from Walt Whitman's poem of the same name and a piano added to an 11-piece string orchestra, soared gloriously.

Metro on 03/18/2018

Print Headline: Chamber Singers season ends on full-magnitude, superb note


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