Even the most sophisticated music-lover will find nothing banal about the joint concert of the Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society in Sanders Theater tomorrow evening. Mile, Nadia Boulanger has searched deep in the annals of composition to bring out a program of nine rare and beautiful pieces that should stir the soul of the hardest critic.
The concert will open with a Bach cantata, "Christ Lag in Todesbanden." From beginning to end, the themes in this work are all based on the soprano part in the final calm and triumphant choral. Sections of this soprano melody are developed into full-length choruses that tell of Christ's death and resurrection at the beginning of the cantata, and, in the middle, of the horrible struggle between life and death. The work is essentially dramatic; and Mlle. Boulanger's interpretation, though perhaps a bit too a la francaise, brings out the drama to the full.
Particularly noteworthy will be the first performance of four motets by Leo Preger, written for the Glee Club and Choral Society. With severe lines and masterly syncopation Preger attains an effect of religious fervor that is to the extreme exciting.
But the most brilliant example of this modern school of choral music, which depends upon striking rhythm and purity of line for its effect, is Stravinsky's "Ave Maria." Steady, drum-like beat and sombre harmonies remind one of a Gregorian chant. In its simplicity lies its greatness.
Palestrina, Poulene, Tallis, and Hindemith are also represented on tomorrow's program, which will be brought to a close with selections from Purcell's opera, "King Arthur, or the British Worthy." Certainly this early English composer's music should be heard more often, and it is encouraging to note in passing that Lowell House is planning to present "Dido and Aeneas" in April.
Many a flattering adjective has been used in describing this music; but we believe they are merited. Tomorrow's concert will be one of the outstanding musical events of the year.