Lauridsen's music pleases at Bach Festival

Louis Roney

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On Sunday, Jan. 26, at Knowles Memorial Chapel the Bach Festival Society presented the music of still-living American composer Morten Lauridsen.

The main interest was choral music, sung on this occasion by members of the Bach Festival Choir and the Rollins College Choir, ably led by conductor John Sinclair.

Composer Lauridsen was on hand to address the Sunday audience, and to explain whatever he thought needed explaining.

Rollins Colleges’ Choir opened the afternoon with the choral piece “O Magnum Mysterium,” beautifully sung in traditional-sounding melodic phrasing to express its religious text. A unique feature was the composer himself at the piano in “Dirait-on” from “Les Chansons des Roses.”

Soprano Julia Foster and pianist Lynn Peghiny movingly presented Howard Moss’ six poems titled “A Winter Come.”

With the composer again at the piano, members of the Bach Festival Choir then took over to sing “Nocturnes” by poets Rilke, Neruda and Agee, rendered with seamless vocalism that felicitously combined words and music.

Following intermission, the Bach Festival Orchestra joined the Festival Choir to deliver the effective modulations of “Lux Aeterna,” which brought forth impressive full-throated singing and winning harmonies. The composer said a great deal, which was unfortunately mostly inaudible to many in his large audience.