A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO LEONARD BERNSTEIN
Sunday, July 22, 8pm
Annisquam Village Church
Offered during the centennial of his birth, this program is a tribute to one of Massachusetts’ greatest composers, the controversial international legend Leonard Bernstein. Like other programs under the artistic direction of Beverly Soll, it adopts a trademark informality and direct communication with the audience as it explores the essence of the man and his music.
Because Bernstein himself made no distinction between art songs, operatic solos, and pieces for the Broadway stage, the performers won’t either, weaving together favorites from the vast repertoire of Bernstein’s music theatre, operatic, and art songs. Bernstein famously said in one of his first Young People’s Concerts, “Music is never about anything. ... Music just is.” In this spirit, the recital opens with the first music he composed for voice and piano in which the 25-year-old composer proclaims, “I hate music, but I like to sing,” and goes on to complain about “the big, dark hall where people really don’t want to be at all.”
The program follows the wild comet ride of Bernstein’s life exploring his concerns and thoughts about social consciousness, love, and politics in songs from West Side Story, Candide, Trouble in Tahiti, and On the Town, and finally about religion, closing with the words of the street priest in Mass, “Sing God a simple song ... for God is the simplest of all.” In a 1950s “This I Believe” NPR radio broadcast essay, Bernstein said, “I believe in people. I feel, love, need and respect people above all else.” His music reflects this incredible honesty and a search for a better society.
Performers are soprano Tiffany Baxter, mezzo soprano Angela Jajko, and baritone Mark Morgan, with artistic director Beverly Soll and husband Andrew Soll at the piano, all of whom are active professional musicians well known on the North Shore and in the greater Boston area.
The concert features a brief guest appearance by Les jeunes émissaires de Jeanne d’Arc (young students and campers from the CAPE ANN ARTS ALIVE program) in a reprise of their pageant based on the creation of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s iconic equestrian statue of Joan of Arc. Bernstein’s incidental music for Jean Anouilh’s play The Lark marks a moment when the tide had turned for France under Joan’s banner and her ‘emissaries’ celebrate her victories. Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington’s studio was on the causeway between Goose Cove and Lobster Cove, just footsteps away from the Village Church.
Settled in 1728 as the Third Parish of Cape Ann, the historic Annisquam Village Church offers ideal acoustics in an intimate, New England setting.
Located at 820 Washington Street, Gloucester MA 01930
(corner of Leonard and Washington Streets, 3 miles from Grant Circle)
General admission: $20 at the door or in advance with Brown PaperTickets:
Students $15. (at the door only)
Annisquam Village Church