Venue Details

7161 Star Starred
The Kennedy Center - Concert Hall
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566
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The weather was the tail end of a heavly rainy day. Thank goodness the rains subsided significantly just in time to attend the event.. I wore a dressy blouse and slacks ensemble with matching slippers which was apropos for my expectation of this classy evening event. Of course people can dress as they feel..
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It was a little disconcerting that the doors didn't open up until about 5 minutes before the show, but everyone got time to find their seats and take in the ambiance without feeling rushed. Ushers were excellent.
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Under the baton of Artistic Director Norman Scribner, the 200-voice ensemble is joined by soprano Elizabeth Keusch, mezzo-soprano Linda Maguire, tenor Robert Baker, and bass James Shaffran for this moving afternoon performance.

From the sorrows of death to the glory of paradise, the Stabat Mater brings fully to life the agony of the crucifixion, as well as the profound lament of Mary, the Mother of Christ, at the foot of the cross. Written in 1950 for soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra, the Stabat Mater is the first of Poulenc’s three sacred works for chorus and orchestra.  Inspired by the death of his friend, Christian Bérard, it has remained the most prominent of his choral works.  “…I’ve put the best and most genuine part of myself into it…” stated Poulenc.  The demanding soprano solos call for all of the energy and brilliance of a superb artist, and Worcester, Massachusetts based soprano Elizabeth Keusch promises to deliver.  A favorite of the concert and opera stage, Ms. Keusch’s performances have been called “radiant,” “outstanding,” and “splendid” from New York to Los Angeles. 

The programs two shorter works both extol the beneficent virtues of our Brother, the Sun.  Bach’s Gott, der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild (God, the Lord, is Sun and Shield) BWV 79, will be performed in German by chamber choir and orchestra.  Composed in 1725 and written for Reformation Sunday, this cantata is admired for being both energetic and reflective.  Performed in English, American composer Amy Beach’s The Canticle of the Sun will feature the chorus, soloists and full orchestra interwoven in a symphonic style.  Struck by a thirteenth-century text by St. Francis of Assisi, Beach set the text for The Canticle of the Sun to music in only five days and it premiered to great success in 1928.

A post-concert discussion will feature Maestro Norman Scribner and Betty Buchanan, Conductor and Musicologist, in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  Ms. Buchanan, a Beach scholar, edited the A-R Editions score for The Canticle of the Sun used in this performance.

About the Ticket Supplier: Choral Arts Society of Washington

Founded in 1965, The Choral Arts Society of Washington is one of the leading choral organizations in the United States with a symphonic chorus of more than 180 professional-caliber volunteer singers. Under the leadership of its artistic director Scott Tucker the chorus has performed with leading symphony orchestras, sung under the world’s most distinguished conductors, produced acclaimed recordings and toured nationally and internationally.