The Thursday Musical Club tackled a wide-ranging program Sunday afternoon at the First Reformed Church and probably had as much fun singing the songs as the small crowd did listening.
The 29 women under Julie Panke’s sure direction were well rehearsed in a four-part program that also featured two of the group’s scholarship recipients: soprano Savannah Gordon, a freshman at Schenectady County Community College, and flutist Warren Thompson, a junior at Union College. Elinor Farnum provided sure-fingered support on organ and piano for the chorus and Gordon. Palma Catravas accompanied Thompson.
The concert began with one of J.S. Bach’s Lutheran cantatas, “To Thee Be Praise Forever.” Premiered in 1725 on New Year’s Day, the sound was big and celebratory and was followed by Orlando di Lasso’s “Adoramus te Christe.” Johann Franck’s “Ye Fields of Light, Celestial Plains” featured soprano Gail Blinckmann in an extended solo that she sang well with nice high tones. “Pie Jesu” from Faure’s Requiem sounded cautious and hesitant, but diction was very clean compared to some of the previous pieces.
The next six selections were all from operas. The chorus was very bouyant and light in “Life’s Enchantment” from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” But in his “O Winds, Blow Yet Softly” from “Cosi fan tutti,” the range was a bit high for the sopranos.
In “Musetta’s Waltz” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” the chorus did well with the shifting rubato and sounded very good in the middle range. The Spinning Chorus from Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” was well rehearsed but the range was high, although the chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s “Nabucco” was done nicely with the chorus getting a good mellow tone. The several waltzes from Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” had varying results.
Gordon sang Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Silent Noon” and Antonio Cesti’s “Intorno all’idol mio” with pure, velvety tones that were unforced and lovely. Thompson played the two movements of Eldin Burton’s Sonatina with a clear tone, sustained lines, and showed a fluent technique.
The chorus sounded most comfortable in the Broadway show tunes. Mezzo-soprano Julie Andrew was stylish in “I Got the Sun in the Morning” from “Annie Get Your Gun.” Jack Aernecke narrated and Andrew Krystopolski played accordion in a long medley from “Fiddler on the Roof,” which would have been better if it had ended with an uptempo number. “Thank You for the Music” by Ulvaeus and Anderson was robust, cheerful and a good finale.