San Jose Symphonic Choir, conducted by Leroy Kromm, will present its first concert of the 2016-17 season on November 26, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, 80 South Market, San Jose, at 7:30 pm.
The concert will feature two gems of the High Baroque: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Magnificat, and Georg Frideric Handel’s Dettigen Te Deum. The Choir will be accompanied by the San Jose Baroque Orchestra.
The Magnificat, or Canticle of Mary, is based on the biblical chronicle of Mary’s contemplation of her new status as the Mother of God, and has been the basis for many choral works over hundreds of years. The listener hears her joy in the exuberant opening section, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” and Bach’s lovely gesture with the final words “As it was in the beginning, is now and forever,” set to music which mirrors the first verse, thus recalling the music that was heard “in the beginning.” Throughout the performance, the voices of four soloists and the instruments of the baroque orchestra interweave with the Choir to paint a picture of Mary’s joy and humility.
Bach wrote the Magnificat for the 1723 Christmas Vespers at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, where he had just been appointed Kantor, or Music Director. Bach held this demanding post that required him to teach, compose, supervise musicians, and play the organ, until his death in 1750. In spite of his heavy schedule, many of his most famous works were composed during this period, including choral masterpieces such as the St. Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor, as well as the Magnificat.
The second celebratory piece on the program has its basis in the British military support of their allies Hanover and Hesse during the War of the Austrian Succession, from 1740 – 1748. In June of 1743, British troops under the command of King George II, were part of a victorious force that defeated French troops at the Battle of Dettingen, on the banks of the River Main in Germany. The incident has historical significance as the last time a British monarch personally lead his troops into battle. Handel, the “Composer of the Musick to the Chapel Royal,” was commissioned to write a Te Deum – a hymn of praise – commemorating the British military victory and giving public thanksgiving for the safe return of the King.
The work is structured in several short sections, featuring a lively interplay between the chorus, baritone soloist, and orchestra. Opening with a brilliant fanfare of trumpets and drums that leads into a joyous chorus of praise, the piece concludes with a stunningly beautiful final choral prayer “Let Me Never Be Confounded.”
Tickets are: General, $30 in advance, $35 at the door, Seniors/Students/Military $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and are available through Brown Paper Tickets. Visit the Choir’s website, www.sanjosesymphonicchoir.org for a direct link to tickets and additional information.