WILLIAM FERRIS CHORALE
Cesar Franck, one of 19th-century France’s most important composers, embodies the William Ferris Chorale’s ethos. Conservatively inclined in an era that also produced the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, Franck earned a living in relative obscurity as a church organist and teacher; many of his best compositions were written for choirs and organs. His harmonic idiom, derived in part from Wagner, is majestic, idiosyncratic, and spiritual. Small wonder that he and his students Widor and Pierne are favorites of the Ferris Chorale, whose singing does justice to Franck’s richly textured sound and resounding faith. The most substantial work in the chorale’s appreciation of Franck’s legacy is the Mass in A, with its mix of early Franck in the Kyrie and Gloria movements and the later, more obviously sensuous Franck in the Agnus Dei. The program’s first half consists of the masterly Chorale in A Minor and a pair of choral works edited by Leo Sowerby, also a composer/organist and a mentor to the chorale’s founder. Featured soloists in the mass are soprano Patricia Spencer, tenor John Vorrasi, and baritone Walter Shalda. Thomas Weisflog is the organist. Friday, 8 PM, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 690 W. Belmont; 325-2000. TED SHEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photos.