Well, I currently find myself immersed in the most ambitious season IOCSF has ever taken on! When I began planning for this fall, the central composition was already selected, and it is a doozey. Our program will focus on a glorious composition written by American composer Milton Babbitt, entitled Music for the Mass. What is special about this piece is that it has never before been performed as the composer initially intended. Written in 1938, this Mass without a Credo remained unpublished until 2010, and IOCSF will be the first chorus to perform it on the west coast! Not only a composer, Babbitt was also a mathematician, and his love for numbers is evident in the copious amount of serial music in his oeuvre. When he was asked to write a piece for the new music department at Princeton in the late 1930s, he set down his Dalton mechanical calculator and wrote something entirely different: a tremendous exercise in counterpoint and compositional technique, rooted in the old styles, but blossoming as a contemporary masterpiece of dissonance and consonance! This has got to be the most rewarding piece of music I have ever prepared. Looking at the notes on the page, you might think you were looking at something out of the 16th century, but once you factor in all of the accidentals and disjunct melodic lines, you are suddenly faced with a very modern thing of beauty. I’ll simply say this: you must hear this composition.
In addition to the tremendous feat mentioned above, we are also preparing a number of other works by American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, hence our theme: Prewar to Postmodern; Music for the Mass(es). We will be performing pieces by Irving Fine, Robert Moran, and Craig Hella Johnson, and will also be premiering three other works by Noah Luna (current SFCM student), David Harris (New York composer), and IOC’s very own Joshua Saulle. The concerts are to be held Friday November 19 and Saturday November 20, 2010. Details can be found on the concerts page of this website.
IOCSF will also be performing in Oakland this season alongside the San Francisco Boys Chorus. We will present a shortened version of our fall program, and will add to it David Conte’s beautifully unique version of “Silent Night.” Details about this performance can also be found on the concerts page of this website. Although IOCSF always offers its concerts free of charge, this event is being put on by the Boys Chorus, and so, we are subject to their policies for admission.
One final piece of news that we are very excited about is that San Barbara Music Publishers have decided to begin an International Orange Chorale publishing series! Beginning later in the fall, we will have our very own series of compositions published under the IOCSF name!! This is a huge step for our organization, and it is no doubt thanks to the tremendous support we have gotten from our audience over the years. Thank you!!
Well, here’s hoping you can make it to one of our concerts this season… they are sure to satisfy!!
Artistic Director, International Orange Chorale of San Francisco