Recent weeks have given us a wealth of offbeat choral music with two high points: the revival after decades of negligence of two valuable twentieth-century scores: Arthur Honegger´s "Le Roi David" ("King David") and Benjamin Britten´s "Saint Nicolas".
I have cherished Honegger´s symphonic psalm ever since I first heard it live conducted by Albert Wolff in
The choral and orchestral interpretation was very convincing. The Narrator (an innovation) was the excellent Augusto Morales, quite expressive and with perfect French diction. The very correct though not intense enough tenor was Ricardo González Dorrego, and soprano Rebeca Nomberto recovered from a weak start and went on to well-voiced melismas. The Witch of Endor was voiced with raucous, agonic projection by María Rosa Chiaravalloti.
I was present at the premiere of "Saint Nicolas" in our city: it was offered in 1954 by that wonderful institution, the Asociación de Conciertos de Cámara, conducted by Washington Castro. Since then I´ve been hoping for its revival (if there was one I missed it). It is a 50-minute cantata written in 1948 on the life of Saint Nicolas, converted later into Santa Claus, with an adequate text concocted by Eric Crozier. It assembles a mixed choir, a children´s choir and a chamber orchestra reinforced with organ and four-hand piano. Britten´s music is admirably fresh and varied, of course tonal, and it shows again his empathy with the sound of children. Premiered (and recorded) at the Aldeburgh Festival with Peter Pears as Saint Nicolas, it is the recording to have.
There were three performances in diverse venues; I heard the third at the
Now to famous waters with Joseph Haydn´s mighty oratorio "The Creation" ("Die Schöpfung") offered at the Facultad de Derecho by Pedro Calderón leading the Coro Polifónico Nacional (Luvini) and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, both in fine shape. The three Archangels were sung superbly by Soledad de
It was nice meeting Juan Pedro Esnaola´s 1826 Mass for four voices. The score was found by Juan Florentino
For Buenos Aires Herald