THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

Dallas Chamber Choir Artistic Director Jon L. Culpepper

Review: Walden: Nature Speaks | Dallas Chamber Choir | Moody Performance Hall


It's Their Nature

The Dallas Chamber Choir offers a successful Walden-themed concert filled with smooth adagios.



published Thursday, September 19, 2019

Photo: https://paulcarr.org/
Composer Paul Carr

 

Dallas — Artistic director and conductor Jon L. Culpepper’s effective use of shading and shaping provides for the Dallas Chamber Choir a tonal identity that is lovely and consistent. In a tribute to the beauty of nature and mankind’s relationship with the natural world, the DCC presented a program last weekend consisting of rich, harmonically lush music that accentuated the group’s acoustic character to a near indulgent degree.

Titled Walden (an homage to Thoreau and his transcendentalist book of the same name, which explores nature, spirituality, and self-reliance), Culpepper’s curation drew largely on pieces with slow-moving, sweeping textures and warm, uncomplicated harmonies.

Photo: Dickie Hill
Dallas Chamber Choir Music Director Jon L. Culpepper

Calling upon the compositional stylings of all mid-century to contemporary composers, Culpepper’s musical variation was limited. With the exception of a few pieces, the program can be characterized, roughly, by a smooth adagio. It is, however, a setting in which the DCC works exceptionally well.

The concert opened with Thomas LaVoy’s “What of the Darkness” from the 2015 song cycle Songs of the Questioner. With it, the 26-person choir established a marked command over the dark, ebbing dynamics of LaVoy’s composition, as well as the shifting levels of light and dark as they navigate between modes. Their interpretation of Rene Clausen’s “Tonight Eternity Alone” pours out like honey, with a protracting thickness of texture depicting the beauty of a setting sun.

Ethan Sperry’s “Desh,” an arrangement of a tradition Indian rāga, is a departure from the norm of this concert, as the choir opens the piece with a surprising display of throat singing, resulting in bright harmonic overtones. It moves through rhythmic, percussive chants and a quick-tempo cut-time section.

The set also included a U.S. premiere by English composer Paul Carr. His “Holding the Stars,” written in 2010, sets four voices, unaccompanied, in wide, solid harmonies that undulate between bright and dark chords. In addition, Culpepper included a work by a DCC member Andrew Steffen. His Specks of Earth is an 11-minute setting of the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore across nine movements. They range in tone and texture, from dramatic, fluttery word-painting in the opening “Stray Birds” to the intoxicating soundscaping achieved in the eighth movement “Fields,” which involves synchronized inhales and exhales in the choir over comfortably tense chords in the piano, which Jordan Peek executed thoughtfully.

“Song to the Moon,” by Z. Randall Stroope, is a lovely collaboration between choir, piano, oboe, and flute. Here, oboist Juan Flores-Johnson and flautist Kelly Shea, provided a plush layer of warm, lamenting air to the overall texture.

It was a straightforward enough collection of music to augment the very large, conceptual nature of the central theme. In the surprisingly accommodating Moody Performance Hall, the Dallas Chamber Choir demonstrated several moments of choral brilliance Saturday night. Their blend resonated throughout the hall and, on several occasions, hung with a lingering brightness that served the overall narrative of the program. I would have, however, preferred a bit more variety in the way of tonal colors, textures, and tempi throughout. What can be said, though, is that Culpepper knows the strengths of his choir, and Walden played heavily to them. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
It's Their Nature
The Dallas Chamber Choir offers a successful Walden-themed concert filled with smooth adagios.
by Richard Oliver

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Garland Outcry Cara Mia Swimming While Drowning Cliburn Uptown Players Garland Tuna Theatre Arlington Black Nativity Garland Dallas Symphony Melinda Massie
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit