In case you missed it: Yale Camerata and Glee Club perform music by Nunes Garcia and Martínez

February 21, 2024

The Yale Camerata and Yale Glee Club joined forces on February 11 to present an engaging concert of choral works by José Maurício Nunes Garcia, Marianne Martínez, and others. View the full recording here.

The Camerata began the performance with a set of four pieces on the theme “Arise.” The Glee Club followed with three movements of a mass by Austrian composer Marianne Martínez, and the concert concluded with both choruses singing a Te Deum by the Afro-Brazilian composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia.

The opening two works shared the text “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away,” from Song of Songs. The first was a rousing anthem for a cappella mixed chorus by contemporary composer Adolphus Hailstork, conducted by Dr. Felicia Barber. A more lyrical setting of the same text by Joan Szymko was sung by Camerata’s sopranos and altos, accompanied by Ethan Haman on piano. This lovely piece was capably led by Mahima Kumara M.M. ‘25, assistant conductor of the Camerata and a conducting student at the Yale School of Music. The other assistant conductor, Alex Whittington M.M. ‘25, was on the podium for Douglas E. Wagner’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” The poignant setting of William Butler Yeats’s text “I will arise and go now, and go to Inisfree,” sung by Camerata’s tenors and basses, captured the homesickness of the poet as he longed for his home in Ireland. An introspective and melancholy lament by Shawn Kirchner on the same Yeats poem was sung by the full Camerata and accompanied by Chao Tian on Chinese hammered dulcimer.

If we had been told that the mass by Marianne Martínez was a newly discovered work by Mozart or Haydn, we might have believed the tale. Martínez (also known as Marianna Martines) was a contemporary of the Viennese Classical greats—in fact, the Mozarts were family friends. Despite her gender, Martínez was elected to the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, and she ultimately performed music at the Habsburg imperial court. Her Mass No. 2, for mixed chorus, soloists, and orchestra, is firmly rooted in the style of her contemporaries. She would surely have been pleased with this performance: the Glee Club, conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Douma, sang with expertise and panache.

Another contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, José Maurício Nunes Garcia, lived in Brazil but was nevertheless steeped in the Viennese style. This grandchild of slaves became a priest and then a chapel master, and ultimately master musician of the Portuguese Royal Chapel. His Te Deum in D major is a celebratory work well suited to a large chorus. Woolsey Hall was filled with resonance from the combined voices of Camerata and Glee Club.

Both Dr. Douma and Dr. Barber selected members of their choruses to perform the concert’s various solo passages. Fourteen individual singers took their turn in the spotlight, demonstrating the wealth of talent contained in these two ensembles.

Dr. Barber spoke to the audience about her delight in collaborating with Dr. Douma and the Glee Club. The opportunity to perform together again is not far away: Camerata, Glee Club, and the Yale Symphony will jointly present Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in Woolsey Hall on Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m.  and at St. Bart’s in New York City on April 7 at 7 p.m.

—By Laurie Ongley