Casual conversations with Artistic Director, Dr. James K. Bass about the choral artform.

 

“Brahms’ Requiem”

With the upcoming performance of Brahms’ Requiem featuring Long Beach Camerata Singers and the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Bass will describe the piece and give the audience historical context.

Audience members are invited to stay for the LBSO rehearsal immediately following the lecture at 8:00 p.m. in the Terrace Theater.

 

Camerata Conductor Series are FREE events.
LIMITED SEATING! Please click the RSVP button.
RSVP

 

IMPORTANT PARKING INFORMATION:

Free parking in Terrace Theater Garage.

Casual conversations with Artistic Director, Dr. James K. Bass about the choral artform.

 

“Great Choral Conductors”   

Dr. Bass will profile a number of luminaries in the field of choral conductors, starting with the development of choirs at Fisk University and HBCU’s. He will continue the story with radio programs of the 1940’s featuring choral music, leading into the groundbreaking conductors that formed the backbone of today’s choral arts movement, including Fred Waring, Robert Shaw, Roger Wagner, Paul Salamunovich and Alice Parker.

 

Camerata Conductor Series are FREE events.
LIMITED SEATING! Please click the RSVP button.
RSVP

 

IMPORTANT PARKING INFORMATION:

Do not park in lot immediately adjacent to church. This lot is unavailable.

Join us for an afternoon of revelry, music, English pub fare and fundraising in support of Long Beach Camerata Singers’ 2024-2025 Season!

Learn about the programs we have planned from Artistic Director, Dr. James K. Bass.

Be prepared for surprises as we showcase our upcoming April Catalyst concert, “Music of the Bard.”

Story By:

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — From a young age, Jacob Boland says he has had a passion for music. After being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Boland says music was a way to express himself.

“I started singing in my school choirs when I was eight in elementary school. Through high school, I was in the beginning men’s ensemble and worked my way up into the advanced mix ensembles,” Boland said.

Now at 22 years old, Boland is continuing to pursue his passion and is now a member of the Long Beach Camerata Singers.

[FULL STORY]

By Jan Hower, President

 

It’s a good thing that Peanut wasn’t GF Handel’s dog — he never would have put up for being ignored during that 3-week period when the master composed Messiah!  You can see that Mr. Peanut is ready for the holidays in this photo, wearing his little hunter’s cap. The little guy is surprisingly good natured about having his photo taken! Here’s some interesting trivia about this beloved piece for your reading pleasure:

1. Messiah is rich with vast effects derived from simple means,  along with beautiful melodies and the insistent rhythms that are characteristic of the Baroque era, easy to love and hard to forget.

2. The Music gains extraordinary intensity through the Baroque compositional technique of “word painting,” in which the flow of notes in the music actually seems to replicate a shape or contour that the words describe.

3. Papa Haydn, always generously praising the merits of other composers, called Handel “der Meister von uns allen,” or  “the master of us all” at a performance of Messiah. But Beethoven, who was far more grudging with his approval, used almost the same words—“der unerreichte Meister aller Meisters,” “the unequalled master of all masters.”

4. The association between diva soprano and the soprano solo role in Messiah extends more than a century earlier, back to the legendary Jenny Lind, who barnstormed the U.S. as a Barnum-sponsored headliner in the 1840s. On one of her transatlantic crossings, the Swedish Nightingale asked the ship’s captain to wake her before dawn, without specifying a reason for her request. At the appointed hour, she stood with him at the ship’s railing as the sun rose over the waters and sang “I Know My Redeemer Liveth.”

5. Handel’s Messiah continues to exert a very real influence upon modern composers.  Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, composed in 1971, brings together music, dance and diverse religious and secular traditions in a way that owes much to Handel.  Andrew Lloyd Webber—like Handel, a master of theatrical craft in music—wrote a requiem mass as his only full- scale classical work. Paul McCartney, too, ventured into oratorio with his only classical work, The Liverpool Oratorio.

This year will be the 16th annual performance of Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.  The chorus will be accompanied by Tesserae Baroque Orchestra

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

By Jan Hower, President

 

GF Handel, like most composers of his era, borrowed and recycled musical themes on a routine basis.  Today, we would consider the practice at best, distasteful, and at worst, plagiarism.  But in Handel’s time it was a sign of respect.

As we know, “Messiah” was composed in just 24 days.  Part of the reason Handel was able to accomplish this remarkable feat is that four of the major choruses in the oratorio were “repurposed” from earlier work that the composer had done.

In the beloved Chorus, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” Handel not only borrowed music from one of his earlier compositions, he pretty much lifted in intact and just set it right down in the middle of the Messiah score.  The original composition was a duet for 2 Sopranos, an allegro movement from HWV 189, a short cantata called “No, di voi non vo’ fidarmi” or “No, I do not want to trust you.”  This piece was composed in 1741, shortly before Handel began work on Messiah, but it harkens back to his Italian sojourn in the early eighteenth century, when these vocal miniatures established his reputation as an up-and-coming composer.  Click Here to listen to a performance of the duet, beautiful and a bit bizarre in its original incarnation.

Stranger still, Handel was not done borrowing from this particular cantata.  The final movement of the cantata is another allegro section and yes, you guessed it, was also reincarnated into the “Messiah” oratorio, this time morphing into “All We Like Sheep.”  Use the same link as above to listen, but advance to 3:35 seconds to hear the second allegro.

If borrowing twice is successful, why not do it again?  And again still? Source material for “His Yoke Is Easy” and “He Shall Purify” was supplied by Duetto XV, HWV 192, “Quel fior che all’alba ride” or “That flower that laughs at daybreak.”  Again, the borrowing is deep and extensive.    Listen Here to this beautiful music.

Regardless of how he got there, we can only be grateful that GF Handel composed this great, enduring piece of music.

Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform Handel’s Messiah with Tesserae Baroque Orchestra on December 21, 2023.  The performance takes place at the Beverly O’Neill Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

By Jan Hower, President

 

We all know that GF Handel is famous for his iconic chorus from the oratorio, Messiah, the Hallelujah Chorus.  He’s so famous, it turns out, that even Homer Simpson likes his music.  This is evidenced by the fact that the Hallelujah Chorus has appeared in the soundtrack of The Simpsons not once, not twice, but FIVE times!

1. “Bart Gets An F” (1990) —   Bart is about to flunk out of 4th grade.  A snowstorm saves him, to the accompaniment of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Other music in this episode:  Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

2. “There’s Something About Marrying” (2005) —  Bart becomes a minister to capitalize on the rash of weddings about to take place due to the legalization of gay marriage.  Other music in this episode:  Let’s Twist Again.

3. “Thank God It’s Doomsday” (2005) — Homer hears about the Rapture, and by using numerology to calculate when the Rapture is coming he learns that it is only one week away.  Other music in this episode:  The Flower Duet from Lakme.

4. “The Treehouse of Horror” (2017 — Maggie gets possessed by a demon; Lisa discovers a creepy/perfect version of her family in an alternative universe; Homer cannibalizes himself.  Other music in this episode:  On the Road Again.

5. “Singin’ in the Lane” (2017) — Homer gets his old bowling team back together and they wind up competing with arrogant millionaires.  Other music in this episode:  The Boys Are Back in Town.

Please join Long Beach Camerata Singers for our 16th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah on December 21, 2023.  The performance takes place at the Beverly O’Neill Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. The chorus will be accompanied by Tesserae Baroque Ensemble.

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

By Jan Hower, President

 

Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform Handel’s Messiah on December 21, 2023, with Tesserae Baroque Orchestra.  There are many reasons to attend what promises to be a beautiful performance; today we will focus on the use of the Baroque violin and why that is important and interesting.

Handel composed his famous oratorio in 1742, and it has been performed every year since then.  The music was composed to utilize the abilities of the instruments that were available at that time.  However, instruments changed as the decades and centuries passed.

Baroque Violin:  The size of the Baroque instrument is almost identical to the modern instrument, but there are other differences that affect the sound.  For example, the neck is angled back on modern instruments, which allows the strings to be tuned to a higher tension.  Also, modern strings are made of steel rather than gut, which produces a sharper sound. The bass bar (a support on the underside of the instrument) on the modern instrument is larger and allows for greater volume.  However, the baroque instrument is actually more resonant simply because the box is under less tension and vibrates longer after the bow ceases to move.

Baroque Bow:  Another major difference is the evolution of the bow. Baroque bows generally look straight or bent slightly outwards in the middle, with an elegant “swan-bill” pointed head. They are typically made from strong, heavy snakewood. By contrast, a modern bow is made from pernambuco and has a marked inwards bend, particularly when the hair is relaxed, and has a “hatchet” head at right-angles to the stick.

Baroque Bowing: In the Baroque period, musical phrases were made up of strong and weak notes, falling on strong and weak beats within a bar. When a violinist would move the bow in a downward stroke across a string, the sound was stronger than when the bow would be moved in an upward direction. But eventually the lengths of musical phrases grew, and more notes were meant to be played in a connected way, leading much further down the line to a phrase’s focal point. Accordingly, the bows for stringed instruments were then made to create the same amount of sound whether the bow was moving up or down.

Please join Long Beach Camerata Singers for our 16th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah on December 21, 2023.  The performance takes place at the Beverly O’Neill Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. The chorus will be accompanied by Tesserae Baroque Ensemble.

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

By Jan Hower, President

One of the most extraordinary aspects of Handel’s music is the use of “word-painting,”  the musical technique of composing music that reflects the literal meaning of a song’s lyrics. For example, ascending scales would accompany lyrics about going up; slow, dark music would accompany lyrics about death.

This technique is employed throughout Handel’s most famous work, “Messiah.”  Today we will examine the use of word painting in two  arias, “Ev’ry Valley,” for Tenor and “But Who May Abide” for Bass.

In the very first aria, or air, of the composition — “Every valley shall be exalted,”  Handel literally begins the work with powerful word painting.  Many a composer would be content with just composing a melody with half the beauty of Handel’s, but he went much further.  The text is: “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.”  When the tenor sings the word, “crooked,” Handel toggles between two notes; and with “straight,” he writes one long note. The effect wonderfully contrasts uneven with straight.

“But who may abide the day of his coming?” contains one of the most dramatic moments in the entire oratorio. The text from Malachi prophesizes about Judgment Day, asking “who may abide the day of his coming?” This Handel crafts into a mysterious, slow air. But at the text, “for he is like a refiner’s fire,” the music explodes into … well … a fiery exclamation. The acceleration and ferociousness captures perfectly the threat of hell and damnation.   The word “shake” uses a melisma that actually sounds like the singer is shaking.  And, if you listen really closely you can hear the violins play a run that is reminiscent of  the “flames” of the “refiner’s fire” licking at the singer’s feet!

These are just two examples of many in Handel’s Messiah that make it interesting, exciting and accessible.  This is why the work has endured since its first performance in 1742.  We hope you will join the Long Beach Camerata Singers in their 16th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach on December 21, 2023. The chorus will be accompanied by Tesserae Baroque Ensemble.

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

By Jan Hower, President

It’s a good thing that Peanut wasn’t G.F. Handel’s dog — he never would have put up for being ignored during that 3-week period when the master composed Messiah! Considering that the oratorio comprises almost 3 hours in its entirety, that is quite an accomplishment.  You can see that Mr. Peanut is ready for the holidays in this photo!  Here’s some interesting trivia about this beloved piece for your reading pleasure.

 

1. Messiah is rich with vast effects derived from simple means,  along with beautiful melodies and the insistent rhythms that are characteristic of the Baroque era, easy to love and hard to forget.

2. The Music gains extraordinary intensity through the Baroque compositional technique of “word painting,” in which the flow of notes in the music actually seems to replicate a shape or contour that the words describe.

3. Papa Haydn, always generously praising the merits of other composers, called Handel “der Meister von uns allen,” or  “the master of us all” at a performance of Messiah. But Beethoven, who was far more grudging with his approval, used almost the same words—“der unerreichte Meister aller Meisters,” “the unequalled master of all masters.”

4. The association between diva soprano and the soprano solo role in Messiah extends more than a century earlier, back to the legendary Jenny Lind, who barnstormed the U.S. as a Barnum-sponsored headliner in the 1840s. On one of her transatlantic crossings, the Swedish Nightingale asked the ship’s captain to wake her before dawn, without specifying a reason for her request. At the appointed hour, she stood with him at the ship’s railing as the sun rose over the waters and sang “I Know My Redeemer Liveth.”

5. Handel’s Messiah continues to exert a very real influence upon modern composers.  Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, composed in 1971, brings together music, dance and diverse religious and secular traditions in a way that owes much to Handel.  Andrew Lloyd Webber—like Handel, a master of theatrical craft in music—wrote a requiem mass as his only full- scale classical work. Paul McCartney, too, ventured into oratorio with his only classical work, The Liverpool Oratorio.

This year will be the 16th annual performance of Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.  The chorus will be accompanied by Tesserae Baroque Ensemble.

 

Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah | TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $65/$55/$40
 Purchase Online or call (562) 900-2863

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater, Long Beach, CA

Home (Simpson) Loves Handel

Home (Simpson) Loves Handel

By Jan Hower, President. We all know that GF Handel is famous for his iconic chorus from the oratorio, Messiah, the Hallelujah Chorus.  He’s so famous, it turns out, that even Homer Simpson likes his music…

Read more