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Voices of Ascension: Poulenc Gloria & Honegger King David (Ensemble)

  • Church of the Ascension 5th Avenue at 10th Street New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

When playwright René Morax commissioned King David with a 2-month deadline in 1921, the young Arthur Honegger composed feverishly to complete the music for the opening night. Acclaimed at the premiere, Honegger later re-worked King David into a large-scale oratorio composition. But it is his original orchestration which is particularly true to the theatrical heritage of the piece. The instrumental forces resemble what one might have heard in a Parisian theatre of the 1920’s. Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham narrates the tale of King David, with Angelina Impellizzeri as the Witch of Endor. This will be VoA’s first performance of this unique, dramatic work. 

Honegger and Francis Poulenc were members of the rebellious group of French composers known as "Les Six" who eagerly explored alternative, playful, rhythmic, genre-bending music. From the moment of its premiere in 1961, Poulenc’s Gloria has been popular for its grand scope and intensely human focus. It possesses both an amazingly contagious joie de vivre as well as passages of exceptional lyric beauty. We will be performing Dennis Keene’s organ transcription to celebrate the brilliant timbres of the magnificent 2011 French pipe organ. This concert will feature soprano Vanessa Vasquez, Winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, tenor Ian Koziara and contralto Heather Petrie.