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Neighbors of Kane County

St. Charles Singers to pair Pizzetti's 'Requiem' with English choral music in season finale concerts

ST. CHARLES, Ill., Feb. 27, 2018 —The St. Charles Singers’ season-finale concerts, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will feature the professional chamber choir’s first-ever performances of Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti’s “Messa di Requiem,” an early 20th-century masterpiece that will occupy the program’s first half.

Concerts will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 W. Division St., River Forest, Ill.; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles.

Pizzetti is known for operas that make exceptionally dramatic use of the chorus.

His “Requiem,” an unaccompanied work in five-movements completed in 1923, combines late Romantic harmonies with neo-Renaissance polyphony and Gregorian chant.

“This is deep-dish Pizzetti,” says Hunt, St. Charles Singers' founder and music director.

Music critics have called it “very listener friendly” and “a work of great beauty and sincerity” that “deserves to be far better known.”

For contrast, the concert's second half will be devoted to English and American music.

The choir will perform Benjamin Britten’s virtuosic “Hymn to St. Cecilia” for five-part choir and soloists, from 1942, with text by poet W. H. Auden.

Hunt calls it “remarkable, one of the finest pieces of choral music ever written.”  Audiences will hear “sophisticated use of word-painting, with the melody emulating what’s happening in the words.”

The concert will include choral arrangements of English folk songs. From the two-volume Oxford Press collection “Folk-Songs for Choirs” comes James Byrt’s “Among the Leaves So Green, O."  Hunt will also lead the choir in a selection from the Oxford collection “A Fancy of Folksongs": composer Cecilia McDowell's arrangement of "Green Bushes," with piano accompaniment.

The program will conclude with American choral works from the St. Charles Singers' forthcoming album, "American Reflections."

Tickets and Information

Single tickets are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at www.stcharlessingers.com or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability. Group discounts are available.