In their 25th anniversary Christmas concert, the Con Brio Choral Society will perform Glorias that span three centuries: Mass in B minor, completed in 1748 during the Baroque period, a Gloria by Rossini Small Solemn Mass, written in 1863, during the Romantic period and the contemporary Rutter Gloria, composed in 1974.
The Rossini Gloria relies heavily on vocals, with only the piano providing spare chords below. In exchange, the Mass in B minor has a strong confluence of brass, vocals and strings. The Gloria begins exuberantly, with vocals layered in a way that makes the sopranos almost ethereal, until, in the middle of the room, the rhythm of the music slows down to an almost dismal rhythm.
“I’ve heard people say that someone said ‘Who needs psychiatrists when we have Mass in B minor?’ ”Said Dr Stephen Bruce, conductor and choir.
The Rutter Gloria, on the other hand, is fast, the male and female vocal parts alternating in the Latin words of the traditional gloria: “Tu solo dominus, Tu solo altissimus, Jesu Christe”: “You alone are the Lord, You alone are the most tops, Jesus Christ ”- interspersed with short bursts from the brass section that last just long enough to make their presence known.
At the end, the voices and the brass come together in a chorus of “Amens” and “Gloria in Excelsis”
“It’s a very exciting mixed-meter race,” said Bruce.
The concert will also include a song for members of the public featuring the traditional songs Hark the Herald and Joy to the World. The choir will also perform The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and Angels We Have Heard on High.
The Con Brio group comprises 45 singers and 30 musicians, including strings, flutes, oboes, trumpets, horns, bassoon, tuba and timpani.
In honor of the band’s 25th anniversary, the company has commissioned a brass band that will perform when the choir members enter. The piece is composed by Bill Thomas, director of music ministries at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.
“It’s a shiny, copper-colored piece. Very rhythmic. And I think people are going to really like it, ”Bruce said.
The band will perform on Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 12 at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The Friday performance is $ 30 and the Sunday performance is $ 35.
Tickets can be found on the Con Brio Choral Society website