April 2023 Season Finale

Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem Op. 48

We closed our 54th season with one of the most moving and beloved works of choral music ever written – Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. Fauré’s contemplative setting will be especially poignant in the beautiful and acoustically-rich confines of St. Philip Neri in SE Portland.

alleluia (from quarantine)

This piece, performed on April 30, 2023, is alleluia (from quarantine), by Joshua Shank. It offers a striking contrast to the serene simplicity of the Cantique. Instead of four gracefully overlapping but distinct vocal parts, Shank refracts the choir’s sound like light through a prism, with sometimes over a dozen vocal lines happening at once. Instead of carefully crafted rhymes, Shank’s text consists of a single word in different moods. He has said that the word alleluia expresses varied emotions, including “gratitude…but also the growth that can come from sadness and grief over things we’ve lost.”

CAE Pops! Celebrates 10 Years

These performances, from March 5, 2023, were from our 10th-anniversary CAE Pops! concert series, celebrating a look back at some of the best moments throughout the years of this popular concert series.

Unclouded Day from “Three American Songs”

The three hymns in Heavenly Home, arranged by Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970), sound almost like folksongs, but in fact they all had composers and lyricists. The focus on Heaven as our true home, where we will reunite with lost or distant family, reflects a longing born of the frequent isolation and loneliness of rural and frontier life. Rev. J.K. Alwood (1828-1909), a circuit-riding United Brethren pastor, wrote both the words and music for “Unclouded Day” in 1879.

Nearer, My God, To Thee

Two English sisters created the first version of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848) wrote the familiar words in 1841, and her sister, Eliza, composed the first setting, but American Lowell Mason (1792-1872), music educator and composer of hundreds of hymns, wrote the music for our version. This striking arrangement sets the original text against a chant in Latin about God raising us even in the moment of death. It comes to us via BYU Vocal Point, the nine-member male a cappella group at Brigham Young University.

Londonerry Air

As with most folksongs, the origins of “Londonderry Air” remain mysterious. Probably the best known is “Danny Boy,” written in 1910 by an English lawyer and lyricist, Frederic Weatherly (1848-1929). His first attempts at setting his words to music went nowhere, but, after his Irish sister-in-law introduced him to this tune, the song found great success.

Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel

Like many spirituals, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” refers to God’s power to deliver people from seemingly impossible situations, including slavery. The first verse mentions stories from the Old Testament books of Daniel and Jonah, but later verses refer to Judgment Day and the future return of Jesus to Earth to set things right. Renowned American spiritual composer and arranger, Moses Hogan (1957-2003), who wrote this arrangement, personally conducted CAE in two concerts of his music, including this piece, in 2000.

John the Revelator

John the Revelator was a song popularized by Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945), a Texas gospel blues singer, guitarist, and evangelist. “John the Revelator” sets up an intense if imaginary dialogue between the singers and the author of the book of Revelation, who vividly depicted the end of this world as well as the world to come.

A World Anew – October 2022

Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland opened our 54th season in 2022 with the extraordinary music of internationally-renowned composer — and Portland’s own — Sydney Guillaume. With many texts written by his father, Sydney Guillaume’s compositions promote human values and are full of heart and passion. These performances were from Sunday, October 16, 2022.

C’est Beau La Vie

This, Too, Shall Pass

Dominus Vobiscum

Nou Se Limyé

Yon Monn Nouvo