The Cumberland Oratorio Singers will bring the music of three music masters to life at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 8.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart got an early start in his music career. When he was 3 years old, he used to watch and listen as his father gave keyboard lessons to his older sister. By age 5, Mozart was proficient enough on the keyboard and violin to begin composing the first of his many works. Although he lived for only 35 years, he remains one of the most influential and well-known composers of the classical era.
Franz Schubert also started taking music lessons at home from an early age. Although Schubert’s compositions are prolific and varied, he is known for popularizing lieder, or art songs, in which romantic poetry is set to music.
From a young age, Johannes Brahms received music lessons from his father, who was also a musician. By age 10, the young Brahms was performing piano in public. His teacher complained that he could be a great pianist except that he spent too much time composing.
Brahms became a piano virtuoso and a renowned composer of piano compositions, chamber music and choir compositions for both the male and female voice. Like Schubert, Brahms also composed and popularized many lieder. Although Schubert’s and Brahms’ compositions are heavily influenced by classical tradition, they belong to the romantic era of musical history.
The Cumberland Oratorio Singers will present the works of these three composers in “A Night with the Masters” March 8. “This will be part and parcel of the classical and romantic music that COS customarily performs,” said Jason Britt, the group’s choir director. “We’ve done jazz and Christmas so far this season, and we’ll be doing Broadway later on. But ‘A Night with the Masters’ showcases the type of music we’ve been primarily performing over our 23-year history.”
“The Masters’” program will feature a Mozart mass, “Vesperae de Dominica,” sung entirely in Latin. There will be two selections by Schubert: “An Sylvia” and “Lebenslust.” Brahms will be represented by “Three Leibeslieder Waltzes” and “O Wusst Ich Den Weg Zurluck.” Both the Schubert and Brahms selections will be sung in German.
According to Britt, several of the selections are art music, or lieder. A six-piece orchestra and an organ will accompany the choir. “Snyder Memorial has a fantastic organ so we want to take advantage of that,” said Britt.
Britt has not chosen the soloists for the evening. “They will be picked from the choir via auditions at the end of February,” Britt said. As demonstrated by COS’ earlier performance of “Messiah,” the vocal purity and professionalism of Cumberland County’s classical chorale society assures the audience of stunning performances no matter who is selected.
Other than for season ticketholders, all tickets for “A Night with the Masters” will be available at the door for the March 8 performance. The price of admission is $15 for the general public and $5 for students. Learn more about COS by visiting its website, www.singwithcos.org.