Idyllwild Master Chorale presents an evening of nocturnes

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By definition, nocturnes are pensive, dreamy and appropriate to the night or evening. The Idyllwild Master Chorale presents a gently evocative evening graced with a little night music for its April 1 Spring Concert.

Set to the music of Morten Lauridsen and David Dickau, the haunting and touching texts of the featured nocturnes are penned by American poets James Agee, California’s current Poet Laureate Dana Gioia and e.e. cummings.

Lofted by Lauridsen’s ethereal notes, Agee’s text captures the essential essence of the evening: “Sure on this shining night of Starlight shadows round, Kindness must watch for me this side the ground … Sure on this shining night, I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone, of shadows in the stars.”

For its spring concert, IMC Music Director and Conductor Dwight “Buzz” Holmes has programmed music that ascends, and uplifts the spirit and the soul.

The program opens with Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo,” accompanied by Todor Pelev on violin I, Christy Haitian Liu on violin II, Julianna Buffum Holmes on cello and Edwin Hansen on organ.

Haydn, the elder member of what is called the “First Viennese School” of classical music, strongly influenced the other two seminal members — Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn, in fact, taught Beethoven. He is remembered as the first great symphonist and the composer who essentially invented the string quartet. His “Missa Brevis” is one of Haydn’s earliest authenticated works. In a way, it bookends his compositional career, since, at the end of his life he spent time trying to augment its orchestration.

The second half of the concert showcases the nocturnes — David Dickau’s “I Carry Your Heart With Me” and “If Music Be the Food of Love.” Then Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on This Shining Night” (text by James Agee) and “Prayer” (text by Dana Gioia) provide emotional shimmer, sweetness and soul.

As a bracing finale to what will be an uplifting and dreamy musical experience, Holmes concludes the evening with a bit of a jolt and a bit of a bounce, with Manhattan Transfer’s “Java Jive.”

Tickets, $25 for adults and $10 for students, are available online and at the door. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, in the William M. Lowman Concert Hall on the Idyllwild Arts Academy campus.

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