Rutgers Newark Chorus goes to Germany

Here is an excerpt from one of the reviews:

 

OBERBAYERISCHES VOLKSBLATT  Bavaria, Germany             

June 3, 2014

MUSIC REVIEW

PLEASANTLY SIMPLE SPIRITUALS AND CLASSICAL CHORAL MUSIC

The reputation of the Church of the Resurrection in Kolbermoor  (Pfarrkirche Widerkunft Christi) as an ideal venue for choral concerts seems to becoming more and more widely known.    That is how the University Chorus of  Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey found its way to the church in Kolbermoor to give a concert during its Germany tour.  The Rutgers Chorus concert was part of the “Pizzicato” series, sponsored by the church’s organ committee in cooperation with the “Organization for  International Contacts” in Bonn. 

Rutgers University is located close to New York City. That this university choir enjoys an excellent reputation in the United States became obvious very quickly in Kolbermoor.   Naturally, the Chorus included in its repertoire spirituals, which turned out to be a moving and expressive part of the concert.  Performing to a large audience, the singers transitioned effortlessly from “forte” to “piano” with perfect intonation. Even in tone-repetitions in the high register the soprano voices did not diminish. It was especially interesting to hear spirituals sung by Americans – pleasantly simple without moving bodies or snapping fingers that we see here so often. Director Dr. John Floreen conducted with clarity using  small and sparing gestures.   The choir responded by singing with precision.

            That American choirs have mastered traditional choral repertoire also became obvious with the Chorus’s impressive performance of, for example,  Benjamin Britten’s “Jubilate Deo,” Gabriel Faure’s “Maria, mater gratiae” or Mendelssohn’s “Verleih’ uns Frieden”.  The men’s  sections began the Mendelssohn work, delighting above all with warm, rich sounds.   The sopranos and altos followed with  seamless phrases sung with excellent intonation.   In the closing section all forces joined together  to bring this choral cantata to an elegant conclusion. 

Dr. Brian Harlow proved himself to be an outstanding accompanist who consistently chose appropriate stops on the organ in accompanying the singers.    With obvious delight Harlow presented a solo piece –the “Scherzoso” from Rheinberger’s “Organ Sonata No. 8 in e minor” – which he played with excellent control and great fluidity, savoring with finesse the tonal resources available on the instrument.

            Finally, the choir showed its multi-lingual expertise in a-cappella pieces, such as “Ave Maria” in Latin, in a setting by Floreen, Pogachov’s “Mayim” in Hebrew (With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation) and even a Taiwanese song in its original language.  Several individual soloists stepped forward during the course of the concert, thus contributing to a varied presentation of the program.  Applause was enthusiastic and long at the end of the performance. The choir expressed its gratitude by singing two German folk songs in the atrium outside of the church.