xVancouver Chamber Choir
The Good Friday Concert

Date and Venue April 3, 2015 at 8pm | The Orpheum, 601 Smithe St

Conductor Jon Washburn, Featured Performers Pacifica Singers & Vancouver Youth Choir

Repertoire Heinrich Schütz’s Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz; Giacomo Carissimi‘s Historia di Jephte & Gabriel Fauré’s - Requiem

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This year’s Good Friday concert highlights the Fauré Requiem, Opus 48 performed in the composer's original orchestration based on the violas. Jon Washburn commented that this work was meant to be more intimate as opposed to the large choir and full orchestra that listeners are accustomed to hear.

The VCC, Pacific Singers (Kevin Zakresky, Director) and the Vancouver Youth Choir (Carrie Tennant, Director) which came into existence only last yeart did a wonderful job singing this Requiem. It was human, warm and laid back, as Requiems are supposed to be. The original only had five movements: Introit and Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei and In Paradisum. But in 1893, he added Offertoire and Libera me.

Two Baroque works, the Seven Last Words from the Cross by German composer Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) and Jephtha's Story by his Italian counterpart Giacomo Carissimi (1604-1674) were performed in the first part of the programme by the VCC and the string section of the VCC Orchestra. The choir sang Schütz's miniature oratorio with poignancy and emotion.

Jephtha's Story, a Latin oratorio, is drawn from the Old Testament and intended for public performance rather than liturgical, as in Schütz's and Fauré's compositions. I found this story intriguing as it narrates the story of Jephthah, an Israelite general who makes a vow to God that if the Israelites will be delivered from the Ammonites, he would offer as a burnt sacrifice whosoever shall first come forth to greet him. And so, on his victorious return, it is his only daughter Filia who first greets him. This was beautifully sung by the VCC.Soprano Catherine Laub who sang Filia got a warm applause for her delivery.

© 2015 Ed Farolan