Bel Canto Chorus celebrates Hynson’s anniversary

By Elaine Schmidt, Special to the Journal Sentinel

Hynson and the Bel Canto Chorus were joined by the Bel Canto Boys Choir, prepared by director Ellen M. Shuler, as they opened the program with a work commissioned for this concert: “At All Times and At Every Hour” by Russian composer Alexander Levine.

The stirring piece is related to the “All-Night Vigil” culturally, both created by Russian composers, and spiritually, both pieces having their roots in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Levine’s piece is constructed as four prayers, each quite different in character and each quite profound. The composer keeps the voices relatively close in range throughout much of the piece, creating a densely woven tapestry of sound, accompanied only by occasional, delicate chimes.

Hynson and the combined forces of the two choruses gave the piece an expressive, colorful world premiere, handling its powerful dynamic swells and poignant phrases with grace.