RED BANK, NJ - Richly layered harmonies will fill the air when the Monmouth Civic Chorus performs Eternal Light at the First Presbyterian Church, 255 Harding Road (Tower Hill), Red Bank on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm. This concert pairs the mystical Vespers by Russian composer SergeiRachmaninoff with the shimmering Lux Aeterna by American composer Morten Lauridsen. Tickets are $25 ($22 seniors, $20 groups, $5 students). Tickets and information at www.monmouthcivicchorus.org or (732) 933-9333.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) came to Monmouth County to escape the Russian revolution; he had a summer home in 1922-23 at Locust Point on the Navesink River, then a haven for Russian expatriates. His Vespers, also called the All-Night Vigil, is a fiercely expressive meditation on life and death, based on the Russian Orthodox Good Friday service. The Monmouth Civic Chorus’s 1999 presentation was called “a spirited and deeply felt performance that was beautifully sung and convincingly presented” (Classical New Jersey).
Morten Lauridsen (born 1943) is the most frequently performed American choral composer in the world. He commented on listeners’ responses to his music: “There are lots of hospices, I’ve heard, that use the Lux Aeterna. Of course, I wrote that piece to heal myself as my mother was dying. I simply wanted to go to those texts that gave me great strength and comfort – timeless texts about enlightenment of all sorts: intellectual, and, of course, spiritual, artistic. I wanted to write a very beautiful piece, a meditative piece, on those words, to transport people.”
Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music, an MPhil in historical musicology from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), and a BA in Music from Princeton University. He returned to the New York/New Jersey area from California, where he was the Artistic Director of the Santa Clara Chorale, and the Director of Choral Activities and faculty member at Santa Clara University. Dr. Brandau is the Artistic Director of Princeton Pro Musica and works with the Symphonic Choir at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
The Monmouth Civic Chorus has been called "close to perfect" (Asbury Park Press), "alive and evocative" (The Star-Ledger) and "exceptional" (Red Bank Green). The Chorus is the proud recipient of the 2008 ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, and the 2010 Spinnaker Award for Arts and Culture from the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce.