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2016 - 2017 Season

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All concerts at Church of the Ascension
36 Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street

Greenwich Village: Candlelight Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 8pm & Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 8pm

Just a few blocks from the Christmas tree under Washington Square Arch, the artistically significant Church of the Ascension is never more beautiful than at Christmas, when it is filled with evergreens and song. Dating from 1840, its interior design, overseen by architect Stanford White, includes art by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and John La Farge. The Voices of Ascension chorus evokes Christmases past, performing traditional carols and festive works in an intimate, candlelit setting. Joyous, gorgeous, and exuberant, this is music that was written for everyone to enjoy. VoA is joined by guest artists Jared Bybee and Kevin Cobb, and the audience will be invited to join in singing much-loved carols.


Austria: Mozart & Haydn

Exsultate Jubilate, Ave Verum Corpus and other choruses, Lord Nelson Mass

Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 8pm

Vienna in the 1780's was home to both Mozart and Haydn. There, at the end of his life, Mozart wrote Ave Verum Corpus, a work that exemplifies his remarkable ability to convey compassion. By contrast, Exsultate Jubilate, written when he was only 17, bursts with joy. Haydn was already 59 when his friend Mozart died in 1791. It was in the years after this that Haydn wrote his greatest and most iconic works. Among them, the Lord Nelson Mass may well be his single finest composition. Haydn composed this work, also known as Mass for Troubled Times, during a period of great world stress, much like our current time. And yet it looks past that, with music of victory and brilliant joy


Spain: Granados, de Falla & Modernisme

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 8pm

The turn of the 20th Century saw the flowering of the Modernisme movement in Barcelona and a flourishing of music across Spain. Much of this concert will be entirely new to listeners, but will captivate the ear upon first hearing. Pablo Casals was renowned as a cellist, but he also wrote haunting, deeply spiritual choral music. Virtually unknown today, Enric Morera, Manuel Blancafort, and Manuel Oltra composed exceptional works for chorus. De Falla’s El Amor Brujo for piano, Granados's works for violin, and an aria from Goyescas lead to the long-lost Cant de les estrelles. Written in 1911 for three choirs, piano and organ, Song of the Stars receives its second New York performance in collaboration with CUNY's Foundation for Iberian Music and the Hispanic Society. VoA received a Grammy Award® nomination for the 2007 New York Premiere live concert recording.


Germany: Bach St. John Passion

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 8pm

Operatic in its scale, dramatic arc, tension, characterizations, and resolution, Bach's St. John Passion is one of the towering masterpieces of Baroque music. The chorus has two alternating roles: one as a “Greek chorus” commenting on the scenes unfolding, and separately as the “crowd” participating in the events. From the first turbulent note of the orchestra, the music propels the narrative toward its inevitable tragic conclusion—and then, redemption.


Italy: The Sistine Chapel

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 8pm

Palestrina Missa Papae Marcelli, Allegri Misereri, works by Palestrina, Victoria and others

Renowned for Michelangelo's frescos and Papal conclaves, the Sistine Chapel has been home to some of the finest sacred music ever written. Composed in honor of Pope Marcellus, Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli was intentionally written to be “easy listening.” Strongly encouraged to make the words of the Mass intelligible, Palestrina proved that it was possible to compose a musical masterpiece and still have clarity of text. Our concert will also include works by Victoria and the most famous piece ever composed for the Sistine Chapel Choir, Allegri’s Miserere.