The Grammy-winning Washington Chorus has delighted audiences with a repertoire of classical choral masterpieces and modern compositions for 51 years. In addition to leading the choir, music director Julian Wachner has scribed more than 100 published compositions, including "Come, My Dark-Eyed One," an amalgamation of poetry and a dramatic musical score. Acclaimed singers tell the tale of lovers whose great passion transcends death, their melodious voices reflecting the powerful emotions and increasingly expensive anniversary gifts of a lifelong love. Words by Dickinson, Tennyson, and Turkic poet Ali-Shir Nava’i instill the performance with additional resonance. Four soloists join the choir to sing Mozart’s bold Great Mass in C Minor, widely credited as being the composer’s best choral work alongside the Requiem and Rock Me Amadeus.
One of the oldest symphonic choruses in DC, Choral Arts has sung alongside the National Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Mariinsky Orchestra (among others), before 100,000 people in Red Square after the fall of communism and as carolers on The West Wing.
Music director Emil de Cou takes listeners on a sonic journey that sails the Virginia Chamber Orchestra's sound waves to baroque and neoclassical shores, then back through the romantic and contemporary coasts of jazz. The featured piece of the program, Grieg's Holberg Suite of 1884, takes the charming string movement to the late 17th century, when the playwright Ludvig Holberg lived and when flimsy top hats had to be filled with stale oatmeal so that they could stay upright. Maestro Cou mines more neoclassical splendor as violins, cello, and a four-part string orchestra resonate throughout the hall during Handel's concerti grossi from Twelve Grand Concertos, Opus 6. The orchestra breaks 20th-century ground with a composition by Washington native Duke Ellington. His “Solitude” gently exposes listeners to a heartbreakingly simple tune that has stood the test of time better than hand-whittled watches.