Lawrence Fried (1967)

Concert in honor of Bernstein’s 100th features Fairfield County Chorale
Phyllis A Boros | CT Post

The legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein made his home for decades in Fairfield County. In honor of the late maestro’s 100th birthday on Aug. 25, the Fairfield County Chorale will perform a Centennial Celebration concert on Saturday, March 10, at the Norwalk Concert Hall.

In an email, the FCC said it will be performing his exuberant “Chichester Psalms” and “Make our Garden Grow” from his 1956 operetta, “Candide.” Dvorak’s “Te Deum” and Bruckner’s “Psalm 150” complete the program.

Bernstein wrote some of his finest works at his Fairfield home, which remains in the Bernstein family, the FCC noted.

FCC music director David Rosenmeyer will conduct. Featured soloists are soprano Anna Dugan and baritone Marcelo Guzzo, with Fairfield sixth-grade student Nicolas Peterson joining the chorale to sing treble (boy soprano) in “Chichester Psalms.”

“The program … matches Bernstein’s exuberant and larger-than-life self,” Rosenmeyer said in an email chat.

“Celebrating Bernstein is very personal to me,” he has said. “I had the good fortune to see him conduct when I was 14. I already knew I wanted to be a conductor, but after that concert, I knew exactly what kind of conductor I wanted to be.

“The celebrated ‘Chichester Psalms,’ written in Hebrew for a choral festival in England in the mid ’60s, is the centerpiece of the concert. Lenny mixes frantic dances with ecstatic devotional singing, a passage of rage right out of ‘West Side Story’ and an ending that is a true prayer for unity and togetherness” in response to the angst of the time, brought on by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War.

“The other works in our program continue the theme of celebration and brotherhood,” Rosenmeyer added.

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