BRATTLEBORO -- The Blanche Moyse Chorale, an affiliate of the Brattleboro Music Center, will present a delightful hour of romantic choral music by Johannes Brahms on Thursday, April 12, in Brattleboro, and on Friday, April 13, in Bellows Falls.
Under the direction of Mary Westbrook-Geha, the Chorale will perform Brahms’s Opus. 52 ("Liebeslieder Walzer," 1868) and Opus 65 ("Neue Liebeslieder Walzer," 1874), sometimes referred to collectively in English as the "Lovesong Waltzes." These two works comprise musical settings of 32 love poems, translated from Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Turkish by the German poet Daumer, which survey the entire landscape of love-inspired emotions.
The texts probably mirror Brahms’s own personal experience. All of these songs are technically waltzes (they share the 3/4 time signature), but their varied tempi and moods keep the listeners on their toes, though not necessarily for dancing. The Chorale will perform all 33 songs in the original German, but the audience will have English translations by Philip Naegele of Marlboro Music.
Brahms composed the "Lovesong Waltzes" for an SATB vocal ensemble, complemented by 4-hand piano. The piano parts often play the role of two additional voices which, in chamber music style, converse or debate with the human voices. The Blanche Moyse Chorale is delighted to have the piano voices supplied by Boston-area pianists, husband-and-wife duo Leslie Amper and Randall Hodgkinson.
Amper, a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship, has made concerto appearances with the Boston Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony and The Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. She performs with the Alcyon Chamber Ensemble and the Jubilee Trio, and has been a regular participant in Boston’s Emmanuel Music celebrations of the solo, song and chamber music of Schumann, Schubert, Brahms and Débussy. She teaches at the Longy School, New England Conservatory Preparatory, and Wheaton College.
Randall Hodgkinson, grand prize winner in the International American Music Competition, has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Iceland Philharmonic and the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in Rome. He is a member of the Gramercy Trio and the Boston Chamber Music Society. Hodgkinson holds faculty appointments at the New England Conservatory, the Longy School, Wellesley College and Boston University.
The Blanche Moyse Chorale, founded in 1978, is a chamber chorus of about 30 voices, which strives to attain the high level of musical artistry exemplified by its founder, Blanche Moyse. Based in the Brattleboro area, the Chorale includes singers from nearby states and beyond.
The Brattleboro concert will be held at 8 p.m., on Thursday, April 12, at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St.
The Bellows Falls concert will be held at 8 p.m., on Friday, April 13, at Immanuel Episcopal Church (the "Stone Church"), 20 Church St.
Tickets are $18 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors and may be purchased in advance through the Brattleboro Music Center, 802-257-4523, 38 Walnut St., Brattleboro; from Chorale members; or at www.bmcvt.org.
For more information, call the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523.