A vital part of New York City's choral and new music communities, the Manhattan Choral Ensemble (MCE) enters into its 13th season with an ambitious series of programs that span the 16th century to the present day. In each of its four programs, the MCE will focus on works written by New York City-based artists.
The season begins on December 7 and 9, 2012 with a diverse holiday concert centered on the idea of hope. The program, which is part of the MCE's five-year Readings and Carols series exploring different holiday themes, includes choral music by Josquin des Prez, Carlo Gesualdo, Felix Mendelssohn, Randall Thompson and James Bassi, with literary passages by New York writers interspersed throughout.
On March 9, 2013 the MCE will present Psalms of New York-an extraordinary evening featuring verses from the Old Testament set to music by New York composers. Pieces by John Corigliano, Virgil Thomson, Bobby McFerrin and Nico Muhly will begin the program, bringing to life ancient hymns in one of New York's most beautiful churches. Following these works will be three new psalm settings by New York City composers Martha Sullivan, James Bassi and Christian Carey commissioned by the MCE. Illustrations by New York artists will be projected on stage during these new commissions, harkening back to a rich tradition of psalm illustration. A final biblical setting written by a New York City composer will complete the program: Leonard Bernstein's luminous Chichester Psalms.
On April 1, 2013 the MCE will once again collaborate with composer Victoria Bond as part of the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival at Symphony Space. Together with Pulse Chamber Music and artist Timothy Decker, the MCE will perform the world premiere of Bond's Cyclops, with text from the "Cyclops" chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses. This innovative piece will combine chorus, orchestra and actors in a reimagining of a dramatic episode from one of the most important literary works of the 20th century.
The MCE will conclude the season on May 18, 2013 with its long-running commissioning series New Music for New York at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Through a choral composition contest, the MCE will premiere three new choral works about New York City by local composers, and the audience will select the grand prize winner. The MCE will also perform choice arrangements of folksongs, partsongs and madrigals throughout the evening.
READINGS AND CAROLS: HOPE
Friday, December 7, 2012, 8pm - The Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street, NYC
Sunday, December 9, 2012, 3pm - Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, 552 West End Avenue at 87th Street, NYC
JOSQUIN DES PREZ De profundis clamavi
CARLO GESUALDO Ave, dulcissima Maria
UNKNOWN 15th C. CAROL Quem pastores laudavere
FRENCH CAROL, ARR. JOHN RUTTER Il est néle divin enfant
Felix Mendelssohn Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir
Randall Thompson The Peaceable Kingdom (selections)
James Bassi Quem pastores laudavere
The MCE continues its five-year thematic exploration of the ideas of Christmas as realized through a diverse selection of readings and choral works, as well as Christmas carols to be sung by the audience and the choir.