The Santa Clara Chorale’s 2014 – 2015 Season Finalé May 16 at Mission Santa Clara, under the artistic direction of Scot Hanna-Weir, featured a two-part program of sacred compositions, opening with Mozart’s “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K. 339” and closing with Fauré ‘s “Requiem, Op.48.” The Chorale was joined by the Santa Clara University Choirs and accompanied by Symphony Silicon Valley and Santa Clara University organist James Welch.
“It’s a nice contrast–the more bombastic and regal [Mozart piece] vs. the contemplative and sweet [Requiem],” says Hanna-Weir about the Latin-sung program.
In program notes, Hanna-Weir writes that the “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K. 339” (solemn vespers of the confessor) would have been performed at sunset on one of the elaborately celebrated days of the church calendar, such as Christmas or Easter.
Fauré began writing “Requiem” in 1887, following the death that year of his mother and, in 1885, of his father. Addressing the criticism that, unlike other requiems, his “Requiem” did not express the fear of death, he wrote, “I see death … as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”
“I love this music,” says Cupertino resident Sharon Heyler. “These two pieces are my favorite pieces. They’re doing a fantastic job. The Chorale did a good job on ‘Vespers.’ Mozart does a beautiful job of this kind of music.”
Heyler continues, “We’re fortunate to have such quality music available for us. I’ve sung before, so I know the hard work it takes to put together something magic like this.”
“I’m a big fan of 19th century French. Fauré ‘s ‘Requiem’ is a beautiful piece of music,” says Saratoga resident Ted Schroeder, a tenor who has sung with the Chorale for 20 years, but had to sit out this concert. “‘In Paradisum,’ the movement with the sopranos, is absolutely sublime.”
The soloists were soprano Sandra Bengochea, alto Dan Cromeenes, tenor Ben Jones, bass-baritone Jose Mendiola and boy soprano Ethan Yan from Mountain View, who sang ‘Pie Jesu’ in the “Requiem.”
“It’s a singer’s dream to be able to perform in such a remarkable place with nice acoustics,” says 13-year-old Yan. Because his voice is changing, it was probably his last time singing as a boy soprano.
“A boy soprano’s life is very short,” says his father, Dicky Yan.
“The Santa Clara Chorale provides the opportunity for singers and community members to participate in a quality organization performing classical music,” says SCC Board of Directors President Ron Paradies. “It’s a treat to have an organization like this that’s so tied to the university and the community. It’s affordable for people to listen to our music and to perform with us.”
The Chorale will reprise its season highlights in an informal “Encore Performance” concert June 7, 3 p.m., at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Santa Clara.
The non-profit Santa Clara Chorale is funded by grants, including from the city of Santa Clara, and by individual and business contributions. Visit www.scc.org for information.