Andover Choral Society Announces 2014-2015 Season at Rogers Center

The Andover Choral Society, directed by Michael Driscoll, celebrates its 85th season with Carl Orff’s dramatic Carmina Burana on Sunday, January 25, 2015. The season concludes on Sunday, April 26, 2015 with Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War) and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

Tickets for both concerts are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (978) 682-4050 or visit The Rogers Center for the Arts is located at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St., North Andover, MA and is handicapped accessible. The concerts are sponsored in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Orff: Carmina Burana, Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 3 p.m.

Even if one doesn’t recognize the title, almost everyone has heard music from Carmina Burana, which is popular in television advertisements and movies. The pieceis based on a set of provocative, medieval texts that were discovered in a Bavarian monastery in 1803. Over a century later, German composer Carl Orff selected twenty-four of the poems, which he set to music. These poems are at times tender, bawdy, amorous, irreverent, and satirical. Orff’s musical setting of the poems features memorable melodies and colorful harmonies combined with heavy percussion to create music with a primal, visceral character. Director Michael Driscoll notes, “This concert promises to be a memorable experience. Twentieth-century German composer Carl Orff’s setting of the often-outlandish poems by anonymous Middle-Age poets has become a modern-day ‘pop classic.’”

The chorus will be accompanied by two pianos and percussion. The soloists will be soprano Alecia Batson, tenor Christopher MacRae, and baritone Bradford Gleim. The performance also features young singers from the Treble Chorus of New England, directed by Murray Kidd.

Haydn: Missa in tempore belli & Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs, Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 3 p.m.

Haydn’s Mass in Time of War is the tenth and perhaps most popular of his fourteen mass settings. At the time of its writing in 1796, Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was at the peak of his musical creativity and had established himself as one of Europe’s premier composers. He and his countrymen were sharing a collective unease over the threatening advances of Napoleon’s invading forces, which inspired the composition’s name. The work is also commonly known as Paukenmesse, due to the prominent timpani solo in the final movement. (The German word for timpani is “pauken.”)

Five Mystical Songs by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, is based on poems by the seventeenth-century Anglican priest and metaphysical poet George Herbert. Completed in 1911, the piece highlights Vaughan Williams’ gift for melody and lush, colorful orchestration. This piece was written for baritone soloist, chorus, and orchestra.

Director Michael Driscoll, notes, “The brilliance of Haydn’s Missa and the sheer beauty of the Vaughan Williams Songs make these pieces favorites for audience and singers alike.”

The chorus will perform the works with a professional orchestra. The soloists will be soprano Elisabeth Marshall, alto Emily Marvosh, tenor Gregory Zavracky, and baritone Philip Lima.

About the Andover Choral Society

The Andover Choral Society is a community chorus dedicated to bringing high-quality choral music to the Merrimack Valley community. Michael Driscoll has been the chorus’s director since 2013. The chorus performs two concerts per year at the Rogers Center for the Arts. The repertoire focuses on fine choral and choral-orchestral works from the Baroque era to the 21st century. Since 1929, membership in the chorus has been open to anyone with a love for great choral music and a desire to share that love with others.

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