Providence Singers to record Dan Forrest's "Requiem for the Living"

On January 15, 2017, Providence Singers will record Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. It will be the chorus's fourth "American Masterpieces" recording.
 
  "I'm thrilled at the prospect of this studio recording of my Requiem, since virtually all the recordings out there are live performances. I'm deeply grateful for the Providence Singers taking this initiative."            - Dan Forrest, composer
 
On October 19, 2016 Providence Singers launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for 20% of its overall costs. The $8,000 goal was acheived on November 15, 2016, three days before the deadline. The chorus leadership will be posting updates and overwhelming gratitude to the project backers in the days to come.
 
About Requiem for the Living
Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living is a remarkably fresh reworking of a centuries-old liturgical standard. It begins and ends in a barely audible musical whisper, creating both a feeling of reverence and a sense of awe. The five movements explore a range of musical and emotional motifs from quiet and contemplative to harshly critical. While Forrest does not include a terrifying Dies Irae, his second movement—“Vanitas Vanitatum,” vanity of vanities, all is vanity — begins with an almost martial cadence that is later juxtaposed with expressions of sorrow (“Pereat dies in qua natus sum” – let the day perish in which I was born), a raw mixture of Ecclesiastes and Job. 
 
As do the Requiems of Brahms, Duruflé, Fauré, and others, Forrest’s Requiem for the Living works toward emotional and spiritual support for the living. Forrest, however, goes beyond the quest for solace in the face of death, a traditional function of the Requiem, seeking a way to be at peace with the turmoil and sorrow which humanity faces in the twenty-first century. In the final movement, “Lux Aeterna,” the tenor solo dispenses with the Latin text to sing in English, “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” His “Sanctus” is famously inspired by images of the cosmos (“pleni sunt caeli”) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shots of the blue-and-white Earth taken from the International Space Station. 
 
Forrest wrote Requiem for the Living during a period of 16 months in 2012-13, a commission from the Hickory (N.C.) Choral Society.  http://danforrest.com/music-catalog/requiem-for-the-living/  
 
About the Providence Singers
Now in its forty-fifth season, the Providence Singers is an auditioned chorus of about 100 voices. In addition to its own choral performances, the Singers has collaborated with the Dave Brubeck Quartet (including a world première in Lincoln Center), FirstWorks, the Kronos Quartet, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. For the last decade, it has performed twice annually as guest chorus with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in its classical performance series and in a performance of Handel’s Messiah.
 
The chorus has made three studio recordings in collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project on its BMOP/Sound label: Lukas Foss, The Prairie  (BMOP/Sound 2008); Dominick Argento, Jonah and the Whale (BMOP/Sound 2010); Lou Harrison, La Koro Sutro (BMOP/Sound 2014, also featuring his Suite for Violin with American Gamelan).
 
The Providence Singers is committed to advancing the choral art through excellence in performance, effective programs of choral education, and the commissioning of new choral works. Its Wachner Fund for New Music, established to honor Julian Wachner’s ten years of service as the group’s third artistic director, has supported commissions from Tarik O’Regan, Elena Ruehr, and Ola Gjeilo. Gjeilo’s new work, Westminster Bridge, a setting of William Wordsworth’s poem, will have its world première May 13, 2017, in Providence, R.I.

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