by Daniel Hathaway
At least one scholar has pointed out that the British entered the 19th century as a nation of folk singers, but emerged as a nation of oratorio singers. The Birmingham Triennial Festival, founded in 1787, became one of the principal commissioners of new works for large choruses and orchestras, and one of that festival’s favorite composers was Felix Mendelssohn.
Also a favorite of Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort Albert, Mendelssohn wrote and conducted St. Paul and his Second Piano Concerto for the 1837 Festival, and composed Elijah for the 1846 event, the year before he died. Elijah became so popular that it was performed at every successive festival until the series ended in 1912.
On Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 pm, Christopher Wilkins will conduct the Akron Symphony and the combined voices of the Akron Symphony Chorus, the Summit Choral Society’s Masterworks Chorale, and the University of Akron choruses, prepared by Marie Bucoy-Calavan, in Mendelssohn’s famous oratorio. [Read more…]