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Masterworks Chorale concert set for Nov. 12

October 24, 2017

The Indiana State University School of Music student ensemble series will present the Masterworks Chorale in concert at 4 p.m. Nov. 12 in Tilson Auditorium.

The 60-member Masterworks Chorale will perform the "Magnificat" by British composer John Rutter. The work will be performed with chamber orchestra and conducted by School of Music alumnus Paul Ellison. Soprano solos in the piece will feature Colleen Davis, a School of Music faculty member.

Originating from the Latin word for "magnify," "Magnificat" is the name given to the words of Mary in Luke's Gospel. It is the canticle appointed to be sung at Vespers in the Roman Rite, and the first canticle sung at Evensong. Rutter's "Magnificat" was first performed in 1990 in Carnegie Hall, New York, conducted by the composer.

John Rutter's initial inspiration for his "Magnificat" was another great masterpiece -- that of J.S. Bach. Although the two works are about as different in style as they could possibly be, they nevertheless do share some basic similarities. For instance, both pieces conclude with a reiteration of the music of their opening movements, both make use of traditional Gregorian plainsong melodies, and in both works the focus is on the soloist for the more reflective verses, while the chorus is called upon to provide some appropriate vocal muscle in robust sections of the text such as "Fecit potentiam in brachio suo" (He hath showed strength with his arm).

Just as Bach included several additional Christmas movements in the original E-flat version of his "Magnificat," so too Rutter incorporates three extra elements into the standard Latin text. Particularly memorable is his haunting setting of the beautiful 15th century poem, "Of a Rose, a lovely Rose," which uses the image of a rose as an allegory for the Blessed Virgin Mary and her powers to intercede for mankind. The other two supplementary texts are the Sanctus from the Ordinary of the Mass, and a Marian antiphon, "Sancta Maria" (Holy Mary).

John Rutter has stated that his intention was to write a "Magnificat" redolent of Mediterranean sunshine and celebration, evoking the spirit of the many exuberant festivals held throughout Europe in honor of the Virgin Mary. To this end, the work is full of energetic, syncopated rhythms and strong melodies. Rutter's music is always beautifully written for the voice and superbly orchestrated, and choral societies and audiences throughout the world have responded with wholehearted enthusiasm to its uninhibited tunefulness.

Tilson Auditorium is located in Tirey Hall on the university campus. Tickets are available by calling the School of Music at 812-237-2771 or at the door. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for non-Indiana State students and free for Indiana State students (with a student I.D.) and children younger than 10.

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Contact: Scott Buchanan, School of Music, Indiana State University, at 812-237-2763 or Scott.Buchanan@indstate.edu.

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Tickets are available by calling the School of Music at 812-237-2771 or at the door. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for non-Indiana State students and free for Indiana State students (with a student I.D.) and children younger than 10.

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