ACTON — Harvard Pro Musica’s concert on May 4 is titled “Into The Light: Music For Our Times.” It will be held at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, Central Street, and will include music by Benjamin Britten, Morten Lauridsen and Tarik O’Regan.
Harvard Pro Musica is a nonaudition community chorus with members from Harvard and other communities such as: Acton, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Groton, Lunenburg, North Andover, Pepperell, Tewksbury and Westford. Its members range in age from 17 to their 80s and this year includes Lauren Kuong, a Bromfield senior who is singing with the chorus and also designing posters, tickets and program covers as part of her Bromfield Senior Project.
The theme of this program is timely given the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon. This music is about hope, light, reflection and tranquility. The first piece, “Rejoice in the Lamb” by Benjamin Britten is being performed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the British composer’s birth. It is one of Britten’s most interesting and most performed works, set to idiosyncratic poetry by Christopher Smart. Its theme is the manifestation of holiness and God’s glory in its myriad forms such as biblical figures, familiar animals, musical instruments, flowers and religious icons. This piece will be accompanied on organ by local musician Pauline Oliver.
Next, “Lux Aeterna” by Morten Lauridsen has been described as heartfelt, austere and radiant. “Lux Aeterna” expresses hope, reassurance, birth and light. It has been said that Lauridsen’s contemporary vocal music is for people who think they don’t like contemporary vocal music; it speaks directly to the heart.
Finally, Tarik O’Regan’s “Triptych” (accompanied by a nine-member string ensemble from the Orchestra of Indian Hill) is being performed for only the second time in New England. O’Regan’s three-movement piece captures the vibrant cultural plurality that exists today by incorporating Renaissance vocal writing, the music of North Africa, rock bands of the 1960s and ’70s, jazz and minimalist music. The texts are excerpted from a variety of sources: William Penn, William Blake, the psalms of David and the early 20th century Egyptian poet Muhammad Rajab Al-Rajoumi. Born in 1978, O’Regan is considered to be original and eloquent and one of the leading British composers of his generation. His complex music has an unearthly beauty.
Come join us on our musical journey into the light on Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($20, adults; $16, seniors/students; free under 12) are available from chorus members and at the door on the night of the performance.