Singers from Oklahoma City University will present the classic work “Stabat Mater” on Sunday during a choral concert for the Lenten season in the new sanctuary of St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, 2400 W. Hefner Road. Admission to the 3 p.m. March 10 concert is free and open to the public.
“The beautiful space, the Lenten theme and the timeless music will make for a memorable, contemplative concert,” said Randi Von Ellefson, director of choral activities at OCU’s Bass School of Music.
Oklahoma City University’s Laetare Sunday presentation, under the direction of Ellefson and Judith Willoughby, will feature the Bass School’s 70-voice Ad Astra women’s chorus and the 36 singers of the University Men’s Chorus.
“Stabat Mater,” to be performed by Ad Astra in the original Latin, is the best-known sacred work of the Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. The music was completed shortly before he succumbed to tuberculosis in 1736, at the age of 26. The work, a tribute to Mary as she witnessed the crucifixion, was composed to be sung each Friday in Lent at the church of San Luigi di Palazzo in Naples.
The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau declared: “The first movement of the Stabat Mater is the most perfect and most moving that has ever issued from the pen of any composer.”
Also on Sunday’s eclectic program: choral works including traditional psalms, spirituals and gospel-inspired works; “How lovely is Thy dwelling place,” from Johannes Brahms’ Requiem; “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Fauré; the 21st century “The Tree of Peace” by Gwyneth Walker; and “God Protect Us From War,” a 20th century Finnish-language work for men’s chorus and gong. The 75-minute program will run without intermission.
John L. Edwards, organist at First Presbyterian, will perform on St. Eugene’s new 132-rank Walker organ for the opening and closing pieces.
On April 13, OCU’s choral and orchestral musicians will join forces with Canterbury Choral Society for a rare presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the grand opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For details and tickets, contact 405.232.SING.
For more information on upcoming events at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, visit www.okcu.edu/music or www.facebook/bassschoolofmusic.