38th Season Chicago Ensemble Concert

Lecture Series

May 3, 2015


Assembly Hall

The program opens with music from the greatest composers of the early, middle and late Baroque period. Two madrigals from the last book of Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals are grouped with several of Henry Purcell’s songs from his works for theater and with an aria involving three singers with violin obbligato from J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

Mozart’s sonata in A Major, K. 305 for violin and piano, with its ebullient opening movement and charming second movement variations follows the Baroque group. The singers return to round out the first half of the concert with duets by the German Romantic composers Mendelssohn and Schumann.

The second half pairs works relating to Jewish life. Shostakovich’s sympathy for the Jewish people of Russia is reflected in his song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry (1948), music of great intensity which the composer kept hidden until the death in 1953 of Stalin, whose anti-Semitism would have prevented performance. Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Chassidic Life (1923) for violin and piano, music of passion and virtuosity, concludes the program.

Violinist Olga Kaler joins The Chicago Ensemble’s artistic director and pianist Gerald Rizzer in the Mozart and Bloch instrumental works. The singers in the vocal music, all prominent in Chicago’s musical life, are soprano Susan Nelson, mezzo-soprano Sarah Ponder and tenor Hoss Brock.

Open to the public. $25 for general admission, $10 for students.

Sponsored by the International House Global Voices Lecture Series and the Chicago Ensemble.