Unsung Heroes Part I: Accompanists

Audio not yet available
Email a Friend

This week on the Choral Mix, Kent Trittle introduces a new series featuring the unsung heroes of choral music. The works featured showcase the importance of accompanists, and the masters that perform the role. We hear performances of the Requiem by Durufle, and Boulanger's Psalm 24 with organist Nancianne Parella, who will speak about her extensive career as a collaborative artist.

Most concertgoers attribute an ensemble's quality to the conductor, usually unaware of the significance of accompanying. What many don't know is that accompanist must constantly be able to tap into the conductor's mind. They must assist the choir in aurally understanding what the director is demonstrating physically. This is no easy task, but it's one that masters such as Ms. Parella must skillfully and gracefully perform. In her interview with Kent, Nancianne tells of her first experience with renowned conductor, Robert Shaw.

Parella tells of what it was like being a female accompanist during times which it was uncommon, and of performing masterworks including the Verdi Requiem. Nancianne recalls being asked by Shaw to perform alone the fugue from the Requiem, all of the voice parts on the keyboard, while 250 singers listened to their parts. Though she recalls the success of this moment, she also tells of the three weeks prior in which she learned not only every voice part, but the entire orchestral score, which is no small feat.

In celebratring these heroes, we hear works by Bernstein, Brahms, Musgrave, and many others.

Who are your unsung heroes in choral music?

Playlist:

Requiem
Durufle
Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Tritle
Nancianne Parella, organist
NYC

I was Glad
Parry
Westminster Choir
Flummerfelt
Nancianne Parella, organist
New Jersey

Psalm 24
Boulanger
Westminster Choir
Flummerfelt
Nancianne Parella, organist
New Jersey

To The One of Fictive Music

Covery
The Dessoff Choirs
Steve Ryan, Piano
Tritle

North Labrador from Black Tambourine
and Repose of Rivers from Black Tambourine
Thea Musgrave
The New York Virtuoso Singers
Walter Hilse, piano
Rosenbaum
NYC

Der Abend from Sieben Abendlieder and O Schöne Nacht from Sieben Abendlieder
Brahms
Robert Shaw Festival Chorus
Norman Mackenzie and Juhn Wustman, pianos
Atlanta

Gloria
From the Messe Cum Jubilo
Durufle
Voices of Ascension
Mark Kruczek, organist
Keene
NYC

And I Saw a New Heaven

Bainton
Voices of Ascension
Mark Kruczek, organist
Keene
NYC

Make our Garden Grow

Bernstein
Barbara Cook, soloist
Eric Stern, piano
Harold Rosenbaum
NYC

Programming note: On June 14, Kent Tritle brings together select members from the city’s chamber choirs for an evening in The Greene Space, WQXR’s intimate performance venue. The all-Brahms program includes the Liebeslieder Waltzes as well as a piano-four hands arrangement for the German Requiem. Stay tuned for more details!