PARK RIDGE, IL, February 27, 2017 — The Northwest Choral Society (“NWCS”) will present Felix Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang) on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Plaines.
NWCS is under the direction of artistic director Alan Wellman. The chorus will be accompanied by the NWCS Chamber Orchestra for this concert.
Felix Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano and organ music and chamber music, as well as being a respected piano and organ performer, conductor, and teacher. He was commissioned to write Hymn of Praise(Lobgesang) in B-flat major, posthumously named Symphony No. 2, in conjunction with the 1840 Gutenberg Festival in Leipzig, Germany (at that time one of the main centers of the book publishing industry) to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing from movable type. (No. 2 was, in fact, the fourth symphony he wrote; his symphonies are numbered approximately in the order that they were published, rather than the order in which they were composed.) The first performance of Symphony No. 2 was June 25, 1840, as the final event of the Festival, bringing the celebration to a suitably imposing conclusion.
Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang) begins with three orchestral movements followed by an oratorio-like sequence of nine movements for chorus and/or soloists and orchestra. Mendelssohn selected the words of texts from Luther’s German translation of the Old Testament Bible, concentrating on three main themes: the praise of God, God’s faithfulness to those who wait for God’s help and comfort, and the emergence from darkness to light. The last of these, a metaphor for the light of knowledge dispelling the darkness of ignorance that Gutenberg’s Bible brought to European culture in the fifteenth century, became the key image for much of the music.
Stumped for what to call the composition, the composer finally settled on Symphoniekantate (“symphony-cantata”), possibly to avoid comparisons with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, though the two works have little in common other than the simple fact that they are both choral symphonies.
The concert’s featured tenor is Nicholas Pulikowski, a native of the Chicago area. He has performed leading roles with Chicago Folks Operetta, including Sou-Chong in Land of Smiles, and most recently The Stranger in The Cousin from Nowhere for which he was hailed as bringing “dramatic presence. . . and vocal suavity” by the Chicago Tribune. His operatic performance experiences also include the roles of Bardolfo in Falstaff, Cassio in Otello, Robert in Hin und zurück, Young Gypsy in Aleko, Tenor in Trouble in Tahiti, Candide in Candide, and Leader in Nielsen’s Maskarade with Vox3 as endowed by the Danish Cultural Center of Chicago. His concert experience includes solo appearances with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Northwest Choral Society, and the Northwestern University Philharmonic Orchestra and Chapel Choir. Pulikowski is a supplemental member of the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, and an associate member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He earned a Master of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and a Music Theater Certificate from Northwestern University.
Stephanie Londono of Des Plaines and Sara Snider of Mundelein will sing the soprano soloist parts in Hymn of Praise(Lobgesang), including the soprano duet, “I Waited for the Lord”, with chorus accompaniment.
A complimentary preconcert lecture and discussion of the concert music will be hosted by NWCS member Kelsey Green 45 minutes prior to the concert.
Tickets for the Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang) concert are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors and may be obtained online at www.nwchoralsociety.org, by calling 224 / 585-9127 or an hour prior to the concert at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 675 East Algonquin Road, Des Plaines, IL. Ample parking is available west of the church.
The NWCS 2016-17 season concludes with one more concert performance at 7:30 p.m. on June 3, 2017, entitled “Celebrate the ‘70’s”, at All Saints Lutheran Church in Palatine.
Lipke-Kentex-Hesse / Dionne Supply of Chicago is providing much appreciated sponsorship financial support for the Northwest Choral Society’s 2016-17 concert season.
Founded in 1965, the Northwest Choral Society is a non-profit organization that promotes and encourages the appreciation, understanding and performance of a wide variety of outstanding choral literature. Its adult membership resides in the greater Chicago area.
The Northwest Choral Society invites experienced singers to audition to join the organization. Basses, tenors, altos and sopranos with previous choral experience and 17 years of age can obtain additional information about the Northwest Choral Society at www.nwchoralsociety.org.