The Santa Clara Chorale’s March concert, Songs of Youth, saw the Chorale in a different venue for one performance: St. Leo the Great church in San Jose.
The concert’s theme was compositions written early in the careers of composers throughout history. Included were the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composed when he was 9, 10 and 12.
Among the pieces featured, was C.M. Shearer’s very whimsical, Children’s Letters to God, based upon a book by C. Marshall and Stuart Hemple featuring a series of letter. The performance was exceptional, showing how good the voices of 85 people singing together can sound when they’re attuned to one another and under the direction of a director like the Chorale’s Scot Hana-Weir.
Adding another dimension of approachability so often missing from classical concerts was the introduction of each piece by Conductor Hanna-Weir, giving tidbits of information such as how a particular piece of music came into being and challenges that might have been encountered during its composition.
He related the story of how Mozart, who composed “God is our Refuge,” at age nine, “didn’t quite understand how wide the page would be, so his father actually helped him” transcribe it. And then how at the ripe old age of 10, you can hear how Mozart’s ability had grown by the complexity of Kyrie in F major.” For Children’s Letters to God, Hanna-Weir, related how the letters were written and the book and number followed it.
The Chorale’s next performance will be Mozart Requiem and Jocelyn Hagen’s Ashes of Roses, a contemporary requiem, on Friday, May 13 at the Santa Clara Mission Church. For more information visit www.scc.org.