ĦENN GĦALINA: A LENTEN, ALL-MALE CONCERT BY SCHOLA CANTORUM JUBILATE
This Lenten period, Schola Cantorum Jubilate will present Ħenn Għalina, a unique, all-male concert at the Għasri Parish Church on the 24th of March, 2023 at 7.30pm. Featuring the male section of Schola Cantorum Jubilate (SCJ) and the SCJ Teenage Boys Singers, the concert explores both well-known and new compositions written or arranged specifically for TTB and promises to be a must-attend for all choral music enthusiasts.
The concert will feature popular Lenten hymns, Gregorian chants and lesser-known contemporary choral pieces intertwined with selected passages from the scriptures, poetry and literature, all set in an architectural cradle which will be thoroughly explored and utilised during the concert. “We aim to combine the arts. Music, literature and architecture will all merge together to showcase their splendour, the creativity ingrained in the mind of the artist, composer and writer, and the magnificence of man’s ability in continuing God’s sublime creation of the world and human essence,” explains Stefan Attard, SCJ’s Choir Leader. The production features original prose by Joe Psaila, a contemporary prolific thinker and poet, as well as scripture readings.
The choir will be accompanied by Gino Mulè Stagno on the organ, Anna Magrin on the piano and Fiona Murphy on the cello, all under the direction of SCJ Choir Conductor Marouska Attard. “Lent has been and still is an inspiration for many composers,” notes Marouska. This means that there are many wonderful works to choose from, making developing a repertoire even more challenging. “The programme we curated has at its core passages from the Holy Scripture, sung as motets and Gregorian chants. We included hymns many of us hear and sing during Lent, like O Ġesu tal-Akbar Ħniena, treated with great care by SCJ’s resident composer Paul Portelli to make it accessible for the choir”. The repertoire features additional pieces focused on penitence, prayer and in exalting God, including Crux Fidelis, O Bone Jesu, Adoramus Te, In Monti Oliveti, Pie Jesu, and This Cross, penned by various composers, including Mummert, Lightfoot, Behnke, Pergolesi, Martini, Ravanello, Grancini, Hutchings, Nelson and Patterson. The concert also fittingly includes Ħenn Għalina composed by Fr Albert Borg with lyrics by Oliver Friggieri and adapted for this concert by Portelli. Additionally, Baritone Albert Buttigieg will sing the prayerful aria It is Enough! O Lord from the oratorio Elijah by Mendelssohn.
“The idea behind this concert was to provide our young aspirants and enthusiastic male singers with a platform to sing sacred music. Lent is the perfect time to indulge in this type of music and an opportunity to weave in the Word, helping our audience explore it through a carefully curated repertoire,” says Marouska.
The concert goes even further in placing the limelight on an often-overlooked Church, that is in itself also a work of art. In this case, the location is not simply a geographical marker – it is as equally important as the music and the choristers. The tranquillity and architecture of the Għasri Parish Church, built in 1903 and dedicated to the Corpus Christi, add depth and meaning to a concert held under the contemplative gaze of Lazzaro Pisani’s The Last Supper.
Entrance to the concert is free and booking is not required. Ħenn Għalina is being organised in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage Directorate within the Ministry for Gozo.
About Schola Cantorum Jubilate
Set up in the year 2000, Schola Cantorum Jubilate has established itself as one of the affirmed choirs in Malta. Schola Cantorum Jubilate is committed to enrich the local choral scene with a high level of choral artistry; with vocal technique and musicology that lead to professional singers; as well as a drive to support the growth of choristers with enriching life experiences for the heart and mind, with particular attention given to emerging artists. Follow Schola Cantorum Jubilate on Facebook, Instagram and www.scjchoir.com for updates on upcoming events.
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