Since announcing this concert, I have been asked often, “How did you come up with the concept of Gone Too Soon as a theme. Our intention for the past two years was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II with a concert we were calling: Peace Triumphant: 1945. Obviously, with Covid, this has been a challenge for our plans for spring concerts in 2020 and 2021.
We were lucky to have our guest soloist for the Peace concert, Josefien Stoppelenburg, agree to a change in programming. After researching some selections that would feature a soprano solo and chorus, I came across Miriam’s Song of Triumph, a lesser known, cantata-like work that Schubert wrote in the last year of his life. Rather than set in separate movements, the piece is a continuous work in segments with connecting material. It was upon this work that I built the program. Having established the central work, I needed to find other works with a common thread. In this case the common thread being that the composers died relatively young but at the height of their musical productivity.
Mozart was an obvious choice. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult to find talented, prolific, composers – male or female. Except for locating vocal music of Chopin, the challenge was finding those composers who had written choral works, and works that would fit our forces and programming. Always with our mission and our audiences in mind, I included some familiar voices from the last century, such as Gershwin, Joplin, John Lennon, and Chicago song-writer Steve Goodman.
What we are doing with this concert is somewhat similar to our Grande Dames of American Music concert we did some seasons ago. For that performance we presented the choral music of 17 women composers. For this concert we will be presenting the music of 15 composers spanning 5 centuries and performing in 5 languages. I don’t know of anyone in the area presenting this array of composers and this type of programming.
Keep an eye on the papers and your ears to WFMT radio for special announcements regarding the concert. Tickets are available online. Watch the MTS website for any changes before the concert date regarding Covid protocols at our venue, First United Methodist Church of Oak Park.
Reflections on concerts, composers and music...