The Piedmont College Chorale and Orchestra will present two works by 19th century Belgian composer César Franck in a concert at the college at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15.
The concert will be held in the Piedmont Chapel in Demorest. General admission is $10, $5 for students and seniors, and free to all Piedmont students, faculty and staff.
Conducted by Dr. Wallace Hinson, chair of the Department of Music, the performance includes the 100-voice Piedmont Chorale, directed by Dr. Lauren Ringwall and accompanied by Joy Hayner; the 35-member Piedmont Orchestra; and soloists Dr. Andrea Price, Jonathan Pilkington, and Barton Gilleland. The concert will include Franck's "Morceau Symphonique" and "The Seven Words of Christ on the Cross."
Born in Liége, Belgium, in 1822, Franck as a child was a gifted pianist and composer and gave his first concerts in Liége at age 12. In 1844 he was named church organist at Notre-Dame de Lorette. In 1858, he was named organist and chapel master at the Basilique-Sainte-Clotildein Paris, where he remained until his death in 1872.
The "Morceau Symphonique" is an instrumental interlude from an extended choral work, "Redemption," completed in 1873 and first performed on Maundy Thursday of that year. Franck composed "The Seven Words of Christ on the Cross" in 1859, but the work was apparently never performed in his lifetime. The original manuscript disappeared for nearly a century until it was purchased from a private collector by the Liége University Library in 1954.
"I chose these works primarily because they were composed by Franck in relation to the crucifixion and Holy Week, which is when our performance is scheduled," Hinson said. "The words of Christ from the cross as shown in the Gospels have formed the basis for many Passion compositions and generally form the central features of the account of the Crucifixion. Franck created his setting of these texts by juxtaposing the words of Jesus with passages from Old and New Testaments, the "Reproaches for Good Friday" and the "Stabat Mater," a 13th century hymn. These additional texts frame, emphasize, and reflect on the words of Jesus in much the same way the arias and chorales found in J.S. Bach's "St. John Passion" reflect upon the story of the Crucifixion."
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