Alchemy, the vocal chamber ensemble of the GMChorale, will perform “Soirées Musicales” in October. The program features Neue Liebeslieder waltzes by Johannes Brahms, with additional choral music by Giacchino Rossini, Randall Thompson, Edward Elgar, and others.
Led by founding Artistic Director Joseph D’Eugenio, the 24-voice ensemble will perform this Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 111 Church Dr. Joining Alchemy will be the Saecula Singers, a small, inter-generational vocal ensemble that is part of the New Haven-based Saecula Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides life-changing educational programs, performance opportunities, and scholarships for musicians of all ages
Called “Soirées Musicales,” the hour-long program showcases the versatility of the Alchemy ensemble in performances of accompanied and a capella choral music, and recalls the elegance of musical gatherings in earlier days.
“The tradition of the soirée musicale, or musical evening, has been almost forgotten in our modern world,” said D’Eugenio. “At a soirée, friends, family, and invited guests would gather to sing and play music together, often in a private drawing room or salon. Often, celebrated musicians were featured, and the quality of music-making rivaled that of the best concert halls. We hope this program will evoke that intimate, artistically-inspiring experience.”
The featured work on these programs is the Neue Liebeslieder waltzes by Johannes Brahms, virtuosic settings of love poems for solo voices, chorus, and piano four hands — two pianists playing one piano. The GMChorale’s long-time pianist Allan Conway will be joined at the keyboard by D’Eugenio and members of Alchemy will perform the vocal solos.
Formed in 2016 as the first expression of the GMChorale’s “Singing for a Lifetime” outreach initiative, Alchemy is a company of 24 musicians that includes music educators, professional soloists and performers, and skilled ensemble singers and instrumentalists. The ensemble performs an annual series of concerts across Connecticut, often collaborating with choirs from the communities in which it performs, especially with youth choirs, who have an opportunity to rehearse and perform with the seasoned musicians of Alchemy and D’Eugenio.
Already, Alchemy has become known for its compelling performances and significant vocal artistry. Alchemy was invited to perform at the 2018 annual convention of the American Choral Directors Association (Connecticut Chapter), where Alchemy was the featured presenter at the President’s Concert. The ensemble was also invited to perform a series of concerts in Ithaca, New York in August, 2018, collaborating with a local music school to create a significant choral experience for young singers.
The musicians of Alchemy are members of the 90-voice GMChorale, also under the direction D'Eugenio. The GMChorale presents two main-stage concerts each season, often with orchestra.
More information about Alchemy’s 2019-2020 concert series is available by visiting http://gmchorale.org/alchemy/.