Two pianos add a musical twist to the Central Texas Choral Society’s fall concert Monday night, providing a different accompaniment for the finale to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the choral “Ode To Joy” movement) and allowing a chamber music setting for Johannes Brahms’ waltzes.
The concert will feature pianists Sharon Lavery, McLennan Community College assistant professor of music, and Richard Fountain, professor of piano at Wayland Baptist University, accompanying the chorus in a two-piano arrangement of Franz Liszt’s piano transcription of the Beethoven symphony.
Both Lavery and Fountain are experienced collaborative pianists, said CTCS director David Guess, with an additional bonus of Fountain’s current musical project, a three-year cycle of performing all nine of Liszt’s Beethoven transcriptions, the piano arrangements of the composer’s symphonies. Singing the movement’s featured solos are soprano Nikita Disheroon, mezzo-soprano Kari Peden, tenor Justin Kroll and bass Ben Pratt.
The Beethoven “Ode To Joy” is somewhat familiar territory for some CTCS singers. Five years ago, the choral ensemble joined the Baylor Symphony Orchestra and A Cappella and Concert Choirs in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and 28 singers from this year’s group will travel to New York to perform the Ninth with a 300-voice chorus at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 3. That chorus will feature singers from across the country as well as Germany, Italy and Australia.
The second half of Monday’s concert will feature the CTCS in a different stage setting for the Brahms “Neue Liebeslieder” (“New Love Songs”) waltzes, a set of 15 songs. The choir will split into smaller ensembles and soloists, singing around the pianos as if in a drawing room or salon concert, the setting for which the pieces were originally written, Guess said.