BLUE HILL — “Fit for a King,” including Hayden’s Te Deum, Handel’s first four coronation anthems and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, is the title and fittingly captures the spirit of Bagaduce Chorale’s spring concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, at the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill.
The concert, which will feature Christina Spurling as piano soloist and accompanist for the Chorale, will be performed again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at the Ellsworth High School Auditorium.
Directed by Bronwyn Kortge, the spring concert’s program is part of a series showcasing major classical works of the choral repertoire. The Chorale also will be joined by the GEM Orchestra, comprised of high school musicians being mentored by professionals such as trumpeter Bill Whitener and violinist Richard Hsu.
“Fit for a King” will open with “Coronation Anthems,” which debuted in London in 1727, and are filled with all the expansive wisdom, ceremonial pomp and triumphant grandeur suitable for the coronation of a monarch.
The first anthem “Zadok the Priest” (the words of which have been sung at every coronation since that of King Edgar at Bath Abbey in 973 AD) and the anthems that follow — “The King Shall Rejoice,” “My Heart Is Inditing” and “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened” — are works of stunning baroque color and attitude. At times, Handel weaves six or seven voice lines in elaborate dances and the dynamic orchestral accompaniment gives these anthems a life-affirming power and energy.
Hayden’s short but delicious “Te Deum” is a celebratory Latin text of thanksgiving. Built from several short movements, which explore a wide range of tempos and moods, the overall effect is one of shimmering precision as the chorus and orchestra move from brightly accented phrases to lush legato interludes and back again.
Beethoven’s over-the-top Choral Fantasy for piano soloist, vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra is, in the composer’s own words, a “brilliant finale.”
At the first performance in 1808 Beethoven himself played the piano part (a long 14-minute solo) as an improvisation that he later incorporated into the score. Perhaps the most arresting feature of this work is the unmistakable foreshadowing of the Ninth Symphony’s “Ode to Joy” theme which features the words of Schiller’s immortal ode “Lied an die Freude.”
Tickets cost $20 per adult. Admission is free for students who still require a ticket. Tickets may be purchased at the Blue Hill Public Library, Flexit Café & Bakery in Ellsworth, Sherman’s Book & Stationery Store in Bar Harbor and the Southwest Harbor Public Library.
For more info, visit www.bagaducechorale.org.