Northwest Choral Associates music with 'The Food of Love' at March 23 concert

 
Penny Perles
Updated 2/18/2019 7:59 AM
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  • Northwest Choral Society performed its holiday concert, "Once, As I Remember: Old and New Music for Christmastime," at St. Raymond de Penafort Church in Mt. Prospect. Northwest Choral Society

    Northwest Choral Society performed its holiday concert, "Once, As I Remember: Old and New Music for Christmastime," at St. Raymond de Penafort Church in Mt. Prospect. Northwest Choral Society

Northwest Choral Society will musically illustrate the first line of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, when Duke Orsino famously says, "If music be the food of love, play on ..." as the chorus presents a program of love-inspired music from madrigals to contemporary classics and poetic settings. Entitled "If Music Be the Food of Love," the concert will be Sunday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Palatine.

A complimentary discussion of the concert music will be hosted by Northwest Choral Society Artistic Director Kevin Kelly at 7 p.m. prior to the concert.

Lieleslieder Walzer Op. 52 (Love Song Waltzes) by Johannes Brahms will highlight the program, with piano four-handed accompaniment (piano duet in which two players play on a single piano) by Northwest Choral Society Assistant Artistic Director and Collaborative Pianist Lori Lyn Mackie and guest Philip Seward.

In spite of being well-known as a great composer of large, complex musical works, some of Brahms' most successful works were smaller, more intimate pieces, such as Lieleslieder. Completed in 1869, these waltzes are a collection of eighteen relatively short love songs in lieder (German vernacular to describe setting poetry to classical music) and Austrian ländler (dance in ¾ time in which hopping or stamping on a beat is a hallmark feature) styles.

The lyrics for the Liebeslieder come from philosopher and poet Georg Friedrich Daumer's Polydora, a collection of East European folk songs and poems dealing with aspects of love -- serious, humorous, ironical and sincere. Brahms matched the texts with settings that would do credit to the waltz king, Johann Strauss, for whom he expressed great admiration. Immediately successful, these waltzes were responsible for much of Brahms' personal wealth, and solidified his reputation with the general music-listening public in Vienna and Europe.

Guest pianist Philip Seward is an award-winning composer, conductor, pianist and vocalist. He is on the faculty of Columbia College Chicago and has accompanied choral works, cabaret, music theater and opera throughout Chicago, as well as performing both nationally and internationally. Pianist Lori Lyn Mackie received a master's degree from Northwestern University in piano performance / accompanying / chamber music and a bachelor's degree from Albion College in piano performance and German. She has served on the staff of many Chicago organizations, including Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre and the Latin School of Chicago.

"Five Hebrew Love Songs" is, by its very definition, a declaration of love, a sharing of emotions through composer Eric Whitacre's music and the words to the poems of his girlfriend, now wife, Hila Plitmann. As one commentator said, "You cannot simply separate one from the other without losing some important aspect. On their own, the poems are beautiful, and the orchestration is beautiful, but put them together and they make something very magical." Sung in Hebrew with piano, violin and percussion accompaniment, it is the product of a real-life love story.

Other songs on the concert program include "Blow the Candles Out" by Gwyneth Walker, "Some Enchanted Evening" from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's South Pacific, "Dance for Love," a Civil War poem by William Straub with music by Z. Randall Stroope, and "To the First of My Lovers" with words and music by Sydney Carter and arranged for piano and handbells by Craig Hella Johnson.

Tickets for the "If Music Be the Food of Love" concert are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors and may be obtained online at www.nwchoralsociety.org, by calling (224) 585-9127 or an hour prior to the concert at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 200 North Plum Grove Road in Palatine.

The Northwest Choral Society's final concert performance of the 2018-19 season will be on June 1, 2019 at Our Lady of the Brook in Northbrook. The program, entitled "Cherish the Ladies," will showcase songs by some of America's great ladies of popular music.

Lipke-Kentex-Hesse / Dionne Supply of Chicago is providing much appreciated sponsorship financial support for the Northwest Choral Society's 2018-19 concert season.

Founded in 1965, the Northwest Choral Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes and encourages the appreciation, understanding and performance of a wide variety of outstanding choral literature. Its adult membership resides in the greater Chicago area.

The Northwest Choral Society invites experienced singers to audition to join the organization. Basses, tenors, altos and sopranos with previous choral experience and at least 17 years of age can obtain additional information about the Northwest Choral Society at www.nwchoralsociety.org.

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