For its final offering of the season, the Salt Lake Children's Choir presented a well-chosen and enjoyable program of music spanning several centuries Friday.
Under the direction of founder Ralph B. Woodward, the choir does a magnificent job. The children sing with feeling and expression, and the group's versatility is highlighted with its trademark mix of styles and genres. And no matter what it sings, the choir does so with flair, charm and imagination.
The concert began with a set of religious pieces, led off by Purcell's reflective "Music for Awhile." Also included in this group was Palestrina's "Gloria Patri," Mendelssohn's "Lift Thine Eyes" from the oratorio "Elijah" and Schubert's expressive "God Is My Shepherd."
Another piece by Purcell, the joyous "Sound the Trumpet," opened a set of art songs. The choir also sang Mendelssohn's "Greeting" and lively "Spring Song" and Schumann's delightful "Snowbell," which featured Sarah Christensen in a captivating solo.
Several folk songs from Europe and South America were on the program as well, along with several pieces written in a folk idiom, including a few by Woodward.
Woodward is an outstanding composer of choral music. His pieces are melodic and expressive, and his writing brings out the best in children's voices.
Of Woodward's songs on this weekend's concerts, "Who Has Seen the Wind" is particularly noteworthy. It's a hauntingly beautiful and evocative setting of Christina Rosetti's text.
Also fascinating is Woodward's setting of William Blake's "The Lamb" and the two selections from his "Postcards from Paradise": the bossa nova flavored "Brisa beira mar" and the tango "Little Flower."
Several of the children were spotlighted in solos. Kristopher Powell and Jordan King were notable in "The Old Chisholm Trail," as was Jennifer White in Burton Lane's "Look to the Rainbow" and Bryan Graham in Woodward's "Evening Prayer."The concert ended with a poignantly tender rendition of another "Evening Prayer," this one by Humperdinck from his opera "Hansel and Gretel."
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