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Hofstra Chorale and Chamber Choir: angelic cathedral performance

By Jess Braveman Columnist


Often, when one thinks of a cathedral they think of old, glorious European structures filled with heavenly voices singing the holy masses and hymns. This same beautiful sound was created throughout the Hofstra Chorale and Chamber Choir concert during their Nov. 15 annual fall concert at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City.

Conducted by Dr. David Fryling and accompanied by professor Matthew Koraus on the organ. The expansive space was filled with guests, not a pew was left empty – a testament to the talent of the groups.

The Hofstra Chamber Choir performed first, its members swiftly walking from the back of the cathedral and taking their places in front of the pews on the marble steps. The Chamber Choir’s set was a tribute to composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Music included “Te Deum in C,” “Choral Dances” from “Gloriana” and “Rejoice in the Lamb.”

“Te Deum in C” featured an elegant solo by soprano Alexis Minogue. Her light, angelic tone flowed beautifully throughout the cathedral and perfectly fit the Holy-themed composition.

The “Choral Dances” from “Gloriana” – which is a work consisting of six short movements – come from the second act of Britten’s opera. The text of the six movements consists of poems set to song.

Soloists in “Rejoice of the Lamb” were soprano Chelsea Laggan, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Oliver, tenor Anthony DiTaranto and bass Ian O’Malley.

The four soloists, each from a different voice part, sang short melodic stanzas separate from the group. Laggan’s higher notes danced elegantly over the organ part and Oliver’s mid-range melody complimented the previous solo. DiTaranto gave a soulful performance, bringing a gentle masculinity to his solo – a short musing over the symbolism of flowers. O’Malley’s solo was an alluring, emotional crooning that led the main chorus back into the piece.

After a short intermission, the Chorale joined the Chamber Choir in front of the vast audience, totaling over 200 people, where they performed the “Requiem Mass” by Maurice Durufle. The chorus’s full sound resonated throughout the cathedral, bringing the mass to life. The group changed dynamics throughout the work, gently teasing the audience, keeping them on their toes.

Andrea Martin performed the fourth movement of the mass, the “Pie Jesu,” as a solo. Her voice was rich, with a beautiful vibrato sound.

The 40-minute mass drew a standing ovation at the end.

It was overall a delightful performance. The rich layered sound of the group was complemented by the intricate details of the beautiful cathedral. The voices filled the entire space and left the audience with a feeling of bliss.

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