In a collaborative effort, the Illinois State University School of Music will present The Creation by Joseph Haydn. The concert will take place Sunday, November 5, at 3 p.m. in the Center of Performing Arts (CPA) Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for Illinois State faculty and staff, and $6 for students and seniors.
Special guest Dominika Zamara, soprano, will join faculty members John Michael Koch, baritone, and Justin Vickers, tenor, to create a once in a lifetime trio. Audience members can yet again expect to hear an incredible performance as the soloists perform with the Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, and Civic Choir.
Born in Poland, Zamara now resides in Italy. After graduating from the Wroclaw Academy of Music in 2007, she plunged into her notable performance career, performing concerts and operas throughout Europe and the United States.
When asked about his favorite part of the process of performing major pieces such as The Creation, conductor Glenn Block says: “The best part for me is touching and preparing for these major works, some of which I have done before, and to reflect on my own personal transformative stage, hearing this music differently than from maybe 20 or 30 years earlier. I often remind the ensembles that I am conducting that these are really unique artistic experiences and how fortunate we all are to be able to experience and perform some of the greatest masterpieces in music.”
Preparing for a performance of this type is not an easy process. With efforts from the Illinois State Civic Choir, Concert Choir, and Orchestra, there are many logistical things that need to be planned and considered. “First one has to learn the score thoroughly before preparing the singers/players. Rehearsing just the choir is always a leap of faith because at least one-half of the equation isn’t in rehearsal until the end,” Karyl Carlson, director of the Concert Choir, says. “I tell the singers, trust the process,” something Carlson is known for frequently communicating with her ensembles, and with great cause. Just two years ago, Carlson took to the podium to conduct Sir Edward Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.
There are many common messages Block and Carlson share with their ensembles, one of which is be flexible. Both agree that there are many things to consider when throwing that many musicians into a room together, one of which being balance. Without flexibility and malleability, the concert couldn’t be successful.
The Creation isn’t just a beautiful piece of music though; it exudes everything the Classical ideal stood for. Haydn’s flawless contrapuntal technique, beautiful fugal subjects, and perfect blend of strings and voices is enough for any audience member to be truly moved by this music. “Haydn’s Creation is a wonderful example of a work that elevates an already important subject (our origins) to new heights,” says Professor of Music History Marie Labonville. For some, there is a spiritual connection as well, with the text being derived from the story of the creation from the Bible
Haydn also had a large part in molding our musical history, but not in the way some might think. “Haydn’s primary influences on the history of Western art music are his innovations in the areas of string quartet and symphony,” Labonville says. “Some students might be surprised to learn, for example, that Haydn composed many operas, songs, and Masses, as well as several oratorios. I applaud the musicians of ISU for showcasing a less familiar side of Haydn’s output!”
For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 West Beaufort Street, Normal.