Arts at Messiah: The Valparaiso Chorale
March 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

On March 3rd, 2020, the Valparaiso University Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Christopher M. Cock, performed an outstanding concert featuring works of both Lutheran and American composers at Messiah Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City. The first half of the concert had selected movements of Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685-1750) Jesu meine Freude, BWV 227, interspersed with psalm settings.These psalms included Psalm 31, 139, 126, and 63 with settings written by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) and Nico Muhly (b. 1981), a contemporary american composer. Schütz was a Lutheran composer who lived and worked as a court musician for the Elector of Saxony between Martin Luther's death and J.S. Bach's birth. Schütz's music employs polyphonic motives that were typically found in Italian Catholic music during the 17th century. This influence can be traced back to his two famous teachers, Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi. By utilizing such motives, Schütz brought an unparalleled complexity and depth to Germanic, and more specifically, Lutheran sacred music. The Valparaiso University Chorale performed these musically contrasting psalm settings flawlessly. The second half of the concert included works by Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Anders Edenroth, John Rutter, and F. Melius Christiansen, all from memory. The last piece, My soul's been anchored in the Lord, by Moses Hogan, drew huge applause and a standing ovation as the forty-two member choir departed from the sanctuary. The Valparaiso University Chorale concludes its spring tour with concerts in Texas and Indiana. In May, the Chorale will take residency at the famous St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, where Bach was Thomaskantor.