A Holiday for Choirs and for Music LoversThe holiday season is a heavenly time for choirs. Nothing quite compares to beautiful voices that uplift the spirit and soothe the soul. In the 18th century, the growing popularity of secular instrumental music pushed choirs into the background, but as we all know, nothing can quite replace the beautiful harmonies of human voices singing en masse.
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of J. S. Bach, one of history's greatest composers, music written for choirs is more popular than ever this year. This Christmas, choirs and orchestras will present such works as Handel's "Messiah," Bach's "Mass in B Minor," Faure's "Requiem" and other full-length works.
Although the "Mass in B Minor" is regarded as the greatest of his choir pieces, Bach actually wrote it for art's sake rather than for a Catholic mass. Secular and non-secular music lovers can enjoy its beauty and its power.
<> The Ansan City Choir, with Park Shin-hwa conducting, will present this great work in the Seoul Arts Center concert hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Accompanied by the Riul Chamber Orchestra, Gong Young-sook will sing soprano, Kim Hyun-ju mezzo soprano, Cho Sung-hwan tenor and Park Hong-woo bass. For information, phone 031-481-3138.
<> The Seoul Oratorio Choir, Choi Young-chul conducting, will also present "Mass in B Minor" at the same venue on Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Shin Ji-hwa will sing soprano, Mun Hae-kyung alto, Choi Sang-ho tenor and Yoo Ji-ho bass. Organist Kim Eun-ha will play with the Seoul Symphony. Phone 02-587-9277.
<> The Seoul Motet Choir, which has given three performances of Bach's works this year, will perform his "Cantata no. 147," "Motet BWV 225" and "Missa no. 4" in the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Park Chi-young will conduct. Soloists include Seok Geum-sook soprano, Lee Hyun-jung alto, Cho Sung-hwan tenor and Yoo Ji-ho bass. Phone 02-523-7295.
<> The National Chorus of Korea and the Ansan City Choir, accompanied by the Korean Symphony, will jointly present Handel's "Messiah" at the National Theater of Korea on Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Park Jung-won is the soprano, Chang Hyun-ju mezzo-soprano, Shin Dong-ho tenor and Kim Yo-han bass. Phone 02-587-8111.
<> The New York Peniel Concert Choir, a Korean choir from New York, also will present the "Messiah" at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Lee Byung-cheun will conduct, accompanied by the Seoul Symphony with Edward Brewer on organ and harpsichord. Soloists will be Park Mi-hae soprano, Chang Hyun-ju mezzo soprano, Kim Tae-hyun tenor and Kim Myung-ji bass. Phone 02-2268-2757.
<> Faure's "Requiem" has long been a favorite during the Christmas season. The Life and Dreams Singers will present the work at the LG Art Center on Friday at 8 p.m. In addition, the group will perform one of its own works. Phone 02-318-1726.
by Lee Jang-jik