Oratorio Chorale

May 18-19 Concert: Pravasa and Romancero Gitano

In May 2013 the Oratorio Chorale presented the world premiere of Vineet Shende’s Pravasa: Travels of the Guitar, a work commissioned by the Chorale. Pravasa, music for guitar and chorus, outlines the journey and history of the guitar and its ancestors.

The program also featured composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s  Romancero Gitano (Seven Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca) for chorus and guitar. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was among the twentieth century’s most prolific composers for guitar. The Oratorio Chorale was accompanied by virtuoso guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan,  under the baton of director Peter Frewen.

The program also included solo guitar selections by Aaron Larget-Caplan and piano selections by Derek Herzer, the Oratorio Chorale accompanist. Larget-Caplan performed pieces from his CD Lullabies, and Herzer played Improvisation in B flat minor, Op. 31 Nr. 1, by Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) and Idylle in F sharp major, Op. 103, by Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936).

Performances took place on Saturday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Studzinski Recital Hall, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, and Sunday, May 19, at 3:00 p.m. at Falmouth Congregational Church, Falmouth.

Vineet Shende’s work has been called impeccable…“at once ferocious and mystical.” It incorporates a wide variety of styles, spanning musical compositions from the rhythmic world of North Indian classical music to the energy of modern rock. Shende’s music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and he has received awards, fellowships and grants from organizations such as ASCAP and the Mellon Foundation. Regionally, he has composed music for the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Oratorio Chorale, which performed Shende’s Three Longfellow Poems for chorus and orchestra at Merrill Auditorium in Portland in 2008.

An associate professor of music at Bowdoin College, Shende oversees the composition program and teaches courses in electronic music, orchestration, music theory, music history and Asian music. He said the inspiration for Pravasa came from a class he was teaching at Bowdoin about the history of the guitar. Each movement of Pravasa leads the listener through the evolution of the instrument.

Classical guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan has been described as “that rare musician who can deliver both virtuosic fireworks and poetic reflection, often integrated into a single interpretation.” He has performed recitals, and as a soloist and chamber musician in Italy, Spain and across the United States. Larget-Caplan has taught master classes at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Adams State College (Colorado), California State University at Bakersfield, University of Vermont and the Boston Classical Guitar Society. He has been a member of the guitar faculty at The Boston Conservatory and the New School of Music.

Larget-Caplan frequently travels to schools for enrichment programs and residencies, introducing classical, Spanish, Latin American and contemporary music and history to students of all ages.

The concert sponsor was H.M. Payson & Co. Additional funding was provided by the Maine Humanities Council and New England Foundation for the Arts.

Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.