I’m presently singing with the Dessoff Symphonic Choir, which is the giant economy-size version of the Dessoff Choirs, a long-running NYC amateur chorus. We’re preparing for a pretty spectacular series of June performances with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.
First, Britten’s “War Requiem”,” his spectacular antiwar piece from 1962. Composed for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral in England (destroyed in a World War II bombing raid), the piece sets two soloists singing English-language poems by Wilfred Owen about the experiences of soldiers during World War I in juxtaposition to a massive choral performance of the traditional Latin Mass for the dead. It is harrowing and fabulous, sometimes angry, sometimes achingly sad, sometimes transcendently gorgeous. June 11, 12, 13.
Then, Mahler’s [Symphony No. 8)], which will feature about a skillion singers and instrumentalists packed so densely on the stage that frame-dragging phenomena will be measurable in local spacetime. Big, bombastic, wonderful. Probably the more listener-friendly to those arriving unfamiliar with the music. June 24, 25, 26, 27.
For tickets to either performance — going fast! — or more details, see the Dessoff website. (You may need to scroll down to get to the actual text; there’s something wonky in their stylesheet.)