April 18th 2009 turned out to be a hectic day. Driving to Washington DC is rarely an easygoing occasion, however it only gets worse when you are attempting to see a recital and you are already late. After finally finding the National Gallery of Art we found a parking spot, entered the gallery, and found where the performances were being held. I had expected a sort of theater for which the concerts would be held, but in fact it was right in the middle of one of the garden atriums. The atmosphere was appropriate for the artwork around us, there were seats set up for the large groups of people who seemed to be there solely for the recitals, and other groups of people came and went as they pleased. Both recitals had a very relaxed, open, and comfortable feel. If one were to walk off and browse the artwork, the music would accompany the experience well. Many people were simply passing through, and there was a welcome feeling coming from the performers.
The first recital featured the “Master Singers of Virginia,” who state that they are one of the DC areas premier choral ensembles. They sing choral works, which seem to be out of the baroque period. They have enjoyed playing the works of Benjamin Britten, a twentieth century composer of the acapella, church and orchestral genres. They state that Britten’s “A Boy Was Born” is one of their most challenging and reqarding a capella pieces. They also performed Mass in G Major, a piece written by Francis Poulenc, another prolific twentieth century composer. Poulenc has a background with compositions including pieces from Mozart, and Camille Saint-Saens. He later embraced the Dada Movement. Prayers f St. Francis, and Petites Voix were two other pieces originally composed by Poulenc. The Master Singers was conducted by its founder; Erik Reid Jones. Eric Jones is also the director of choral and vocal activities at Shepherd University in West Virginia.
The second recital of the day included the Greater South Jersey Chorus....
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