The Bagaduce Chorale was formed in the spring of 1974, for the joy of those who love to sing good music together. If in the process of taking pleasure ourselves, we bring some joy to others, then truly, "our cup runneth over"!
The Bagaduce Chorale is made up of 90-plus auditioned singers from the Blue Hill Peninsula and surrounding communities, including Deer Isle/Stonington, Ellsworth, Bar Harbor, Surry, Lamoine and Orland. The Bagaduce Chorale performs twice a year, in early December and in late April/early May, accompanied by piano, organ or a small instrumental ensemble.
This Spring Bagaduce Chorale will present Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb as the centerpiece of a thematic concert presenting texts featuring lamb or sheep.
Rejoice in the Lamb is a festival cantata composed by Britten in 1943. It is based on the poem Jubilate Agno written by the mentally disturbed eighteenth century poet Christopher Smart.
“This is a deeply passionate celebration of God, considering cat and mouse and flowers, and even the alphabet in cataloging praise of the Almighty,” said Bronwyn Kortge, the Chorale’s director. “It’s very quirky, which is not surprising, considering the poem upon which it is based was written in an insane asylum.” The poet likens his suffering confined in the asylum to that of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
“The troublesome mouse, and the poet’s cat are both perfectly conveyed in the organ part. I can’t wait to hear Mary Cheyney Gould bring them to life on that lovely Allen organ!” said Kortge.
“Quirky, indeed, but the message of Smart’s poem must have made deep impressions on composer Benjamin Britten, as he requested that portions of the poem be read at his funeral.”
Also featured on this concert will be Noel Paul Stookey and George Emlen’s magical 23rd Psalm. “Our community has such strong ties to both George and Noel, that I’m very excited to program this dynamic work,” Bronwyn said. The three movement setting will be performed with soloists from the Chorale, and organ accompaniment by Mary Cheyney Gould, the Chorale’s founder.
This program includes great choruses by Mozart, Bach and Handel, works by contemporary American composers Ralph Manuel and Joel Phillips, and by British master John Rutter.
Kortge is also programming a work by contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, a first for the Bagaduce Chorale. “Gjeilo’s work is so exciting,” said Kortge. “His Agnus Dei is deceptively complex, the colors are deep and rich and there is such a sense of melancholy; it is hauntingly beautiful.”
“As I was hunting around trying to figure out what to entitle this program I kept coming up with Spring Lamb, a feast which is an Easter or Passover tradition in many households. Well, this will be a feast of another sort -- one for our ears!”