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Valley Concert Chorale concert at 3 p.m. today in Pleasanton

'Celebration and Remembrance' at Trinity Lutheran Church

The Valley Concert Chorale will perform choral masterpieces by renowned composers in a concert of "Celebration and Remembrance" at 3 p.m. today at Trinity Lutheran church in Pleasanton.

"We are delighted to bring to the community two choral masterpieces of the 20th century," artistic director and conductor John Emory Bush said. "Our concert will offer the audience an experience of musical celebration and remembrance through the music of Leonard Bernstein and John Rutter."

Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" is featured in three movements ranging from the dramatic and vigorous to tranquil and serene, and it even includes a musical cut from "West Side Story."

"It has an old-fashioned sweetness, along with its more violent moments," Bernstein said.

The work was commissioned for the 1965 Southern Cathedrals Festival at Chichester Cathedral in England, but its world premiere took place July 15, 1965, in the Philharmonic Hall, New York with the composer conducting.

Bernstein specifically called for the text to be sung in Hebrew using the melodic and rhythmic contours of the Hebrew language to dictate mood and melodic character. By combining the Hebrew with Christian choral tradition, Bernstein was implicitly issuing a plea for peace in Israel.

"Leonard Bernstein, though best known for his Broadway musicals 'Candide' and 'West Side Story,' I believe, will one day be recognized as a great 20th century choral composer," Bush said. "His 'Chichester Psalms' is his choral masterpiece and a favorite of choruses all over the world."

Rutter's "Requiem" is one of the best-loved and most widely performed choral works of the 20th century.

Rutter composed his "Requiem" in 1985 during a time of personal bereavement, which was the immediate reason for writing it. Unlike the many Requiems written since about 1850, Rutter's music is a meditation on themes of life and death using a personal compilation of texts.

'Celebration and Remembrance'

* 3 p.m., Sunday

Trinity Lutheran Church

1225 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton

* Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. High school and college students $10. Children are free. Go to www.valleyconcertchorale.org or call 866-4003.

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