A program of
Sunday October 8, 1995, 5 pm Trinity Episcopal Church
In March of this year, six experienced choristers gathered together to form a new chorus which would realize their vision of a community of singers who care about each other, the music they study and perform, and the audiences with whom they will share the emotional and spiritual qualities of that music. Robert Shaw defines a chorus as a "community of utterance." In the following months, sixty singers began creating this new chorus dedicated to the nurturing of singers and to the excellence and expressiveness in the performance of music.
Already this new chorus has emerged as a dynamic presence in the Bay Area. On Easter Sunday, the chorus performed the compositions of Wayne Love with the Trinity Choir. In August they participatedin an ecumenical service of remembrance for the victims of Hiroshima, held at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) in San Jose, joining the Cathedral Choir in the premier of Lamentations by Brad Osness.
We welcome you today to our debut program of French Romantic choral music. You are invited to join us for our next concert when the San Francisco Lyric chorus combines forces with the San Francisco Choral Society for a Festival of Carols. Robert Gurney will conduct this program of holiday music and carol singing on Sunday, December 17, 5 pm, at the First Unitarian Church (Geary and Franklin, San Francisco).
This performance is dedicated to the memory of
Russell Denver Harold
(November 25, 1953 - July 27, 1995)
in gratitude for his love, devotion, and invaluable help
in forming this chorus.
Trinity Episcopal Church, founded in 1849, was the first Episcopal congregation west of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the parish pioneers were among the most prominent San Franciscans of their day: McAllister, Turk, Eddy, Austin, Taylor, and many others.
The parish's significant role in the history of San Francisco continues today in the vision of its current rector, the Rev. Robert Warren Cromey. Notable among Trinity's many community and social programs was the founding of Project Open Hand by Ruth Brinker in 1985.
The present church structure, built in 1892, was designed by Arthur Page Brown who was also the architect of San Francisco City Hall and the Ferry Building. Inspired by the Norman-Romanesque architecture of Durham Cathedral, it is built of rough hewn Colusa sandstone and features a massive castle-like central tower.
The Trinity organ was built in 1924 by Ernest M. Skinner and is one of the finest remaining examples of his artistry. Built after his second trip to Europe, it reflects the influence of his long creative association with the great English builder Henry Willis, III. The instrument's four manuals and pedal contain many of the numerous orchestral imitative voices perfected by Skinner. Among them, the Trinity organ contains the French Horn, Orchestral Oboe, Clarinet, Tuba Mirabilis, and eight ranks of strings. This wealth of orchestral color provides a range of expressiveness evocative of a symphony orchestra.
Due to its superb acoustics, magnificent organ, and the commitment of a long succession of musicians, Trinity has presented a wealth of great music to the city. In our debut performance today, the San Francisco Lyric Chorus will become a part of this tradition, thanks to the generous encouragement and nurturing of this vibrant congregation.
Louis Vierne was born almost blind and suffered weak health as a child. Despite these initial hardships, he showed an astonishing sensitivity to music early in this life. He was ten years old when he first heard César Franck playing the organ at Sainte-Clothilde. "This was the revelation," he later wrote in his journal. In 1890, he became Franck's pupil upon entering the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris. Charles Marie-Widor was another influential teacher.
The Solemn Mass (Messe Solennelle) was composed in 1900. That same year he was appointed titular organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in paris. Its beautiful Cavaillé-Coll organ was a strong inspiration for Vierne's compositions. He died of a heart attack during an organ concert in Notre Dame.
Gabriel Fauré began his musical studies at the age of nine at the Ecole Niedermeyer in Paris, a school geared primarily to the training of church musicians. This early influence of the old church modes can be found in the slightly archaic flavor of the harmonies in his works. In 1877, he succeeded his teacher Camille Saint-Saens as organist at La Madeleine in Paris and became director of the Paris Conservatory in 1905.
The Cantique de Jean Racine was composed in 1873 and is dedicated to César Franck. The Requiem was composed between the deaths of Fauré's mother and first performed at La Madeleine in 1888. It was also performed there at his own funeral service in 1924. Of the Requiem Fauré wrote, "Altogether it is as gentle as I am myself."
Founder and Music Director Robert Gurney is Organist-Choirmaster at San Francisco's historic Trinity Episcopal Church and Assistant Conductor-Accompanist for the San Francisco Choral Society.
A native of Ohio, he received his education at Youngstown State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying conducting with William Slocum. At Youngstown, he served as Student Assistant Conductor of the Concert Choir which won first place in a college choir competition sponsored by the BBC.
A resident of San Francisco since 1978, he has been an active church musician, organ recitalist, vocal coach, and has served as Assistant Conductor-Accompanist for the Sonoma City Opera and the Contra Costa Chorale.
Mark Bruce is Organist-Choirmaster at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) in San Jose. He was born and raised in Michigan, where at the age of ten he began playing for services in his parish church. He studied piano and music theory with Katherine Heafield of Olivet College and organ with Corliss Arnold of Michigan State University.
In the early seventies Mr. Bruce escaped westward to play rock and roll and enjoy the climate in Hawaii. There he taught music at St. Andrew's Priory School on the grounds of the Episcopal Cathedral in Honolulu.
In 1975 he moved to the Bay Area where he has been playing and directing music in various churches. In addition to his active teaching career in the Bay Area, he also has served as music director for several theatrical productions.
Anne Perry Trapani, a winner of the Winifred Baker Chorale Scholarship Award, received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Dominican College. She has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and has performed frequently as a member of and soloist with the San Francisco Civic Chorale and the Winifred Baker Chorale, including several of their performances with the Marin Symphony.
Brad Osness is Assistant Choir Master at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) in San JHose. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from State University of New York at Oneonta, studying oboe with René Prins and Whitney Tustin. In August, the San Francisco Lyric Chorus participated in the premiere of his composition Lamentations.
Ted Bakkila received his Bachelor of Music Degree and Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. He was a member of Chanticleer for six years and has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the San Francisco Opera Chorus. Currently, he performs with the jazz vocal group, Syncopation, and is a baritone soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church.
The San Francisco Lyric Chorus would like to thank all those who have generously given of their time to make this concert possible.
Special thanks to:
Rev. Robert Warren Cromey & Trinity Episcopal Church
Robert Geary & the San Francisco Choral Society
+San Francisco Lyric Chorus Board
*Trinity Episcopal Church Choir