Critic’s Choice

Wed Mar 27, 2019 at 12:19 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Einojuhani Rautavaara

Two of Chicago’s finest choruses are each offering envelope-pushing programs this weekend that entirely avoid the usual repertorial choral suspects.

The venerable William Ferris Chorale will present two contrasting large-scale works: Gabriel Jackson’s 2008 consolatory Requiem and James MacMillan’s rambunctious Cantos Sagrados for organ and chorus. Eric Budzynski will be at the console and guest conductor Benjamin Rivera leads the Chorale 7:30 p.m. Friday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at First United Church of Oak Park.

The Chicago Chorale will present the mystical “Vespers” section of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia, a monumental 1971 work inspired by a visit to a monastery when the Finnish composer was a young boy. Artistic director Bruce Tammen will fill out the program with works by Ola Gjeilo, Arvo Pärt, Jake Runestad, and Tõnis Kaumann. 

Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2012 W. Dickens Ave., and 3 p.m. Sunday at Hyde Park Union Church.

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