AUB Choir and Choral Society Celebrate Christmas
|AUB Choir and the Choral Society perform
A highly eclectic AUB Choir and Choral Society Christmas concert was
organized by the Zaki Nassif Music Program in collaboration with the Ensemble
Polyphonica, a group of gifted Lebanese singers. The program started with
"Ya Oum Allah" (To the Mother of God), initially attributed
to the fourth-century theologian Saint Ephraim and recently modified by
Lebanese composer Joelle Khoury in response to the events of July 2006
A marvelous succession of musical pieces by present day composers came
next, followed by a commemoration of the 300th anniversary of German composer
Dietrich Buxtehude's death with two cantatas he wrote addressing Christ's
crucified body. Despite the Good Friday text and lyrics, the music of
these beautifully delivered pieces had all the festive gestures of baroque
music usually associated with the Christmas season.
The program, which typically concluded with a selection of Christmas carols,
also included "Patapan," a well-known French carol, as well
as nineteenth-century French songs by Claude Debussy. The talented oud
player Bassam Jalgha added a splash of instrumental color to the only
two pieces that were sung in Arabic, "Leyletna" (Our Night)
and "Tallou Hbabna" (Here Come Our Loved Ones). Vibrantly performed,
these songs paid homage to their composer, the "father of modern
Arabic song," Zaki Nassif.
The concert was held at Assembly Hall on December 10 and repeated the
following evening, much to the enjoyment of the packed audiences that
clustered after the concert around the Christmas tree next to the Visitors'
Bureau, where the singers sang more carols for everyone. The choir, singing
under the baton of conductor Paul Meers, was accompanied by Ramzi Sabra
on the organ and Vartan Agopian on the piano.