LENOX — Trinity Church is launching a new concert series, "Music at Trinity," Sunday, Oct. 16 with a performance by the Cantilena Chamber Choir.
The choir, now in its 19th season and led by Andrea Goodman, will be joined by special guests the Palmer Trio — Noah Palmer, piano; Jamecyn Morey, violin; and Julian Müller, cello — for “Music for the Dance,” a program combining choral and instrumental chamber music, a format rarely seen on the Berkshire County stages.
The two ensembles originally performed a dance-themed concert five years ago at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Goodman said in a phone interview.
“It went over well and I really wanted to do it again,” she said.
While the instrumental selections have changed, that concert’s choral works remain the same and are accompanied by Palmer, who was recently appointed artistic director of Music at Trinity, and other trio members.
“Noah is amazing, he can do anything,” Goodman said. “When he first came to the area we hired him in five minutes to be our accompanist. He had to sight read something impossible. He also sang in the choir for a few years, and we’ve been collaborating ever since.”
Sunday’s musical selections range in geography from Latin America and Cuba to Central and Eastern Europe.
Palmer, in a recent phone interview, outlined the program beginning with the instrumental pieces he's selected.
A piano trio arrangement of “Fall” from Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires," he said, “is a beautiful piece, originally a quintet with Piazzolla playing the Bandoneon concertina. It’s dark and somewhat brooding, with a ton of energy and jazzy Tango vibe.”
He paired the work with “Danzas Latinoamericanas" by José Elizondo, a Mexican American composer who received degrees in music, humanities and electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“This piece became very popular; Yo-Yo Ma performed it,” Palmer said. “The first movement’s title, ‘Otoño en Buenos Aires’ — ‘Fall in Buenos Aires’ — is an exact translation of the Piazzolla piece title. It has an homage feeling about it, Piazzolla was so dominant in the fusion of classical and Tango style.”
“Danse Espagnole" is excerpted from Manuel De Falla’s opera “La Vida Breve,” popularized in a violin and piano arrangement by Fritz Kreisler.
“This is gypsy music, almost flamenco. It’s very Carmen-like in feeling,” Palmer said. Compared to Brahms’ "Gypsy Songs," De Falla, he said, “has a more exotic feeling, whereas Brahms has more dramatic romanticism.”
Müller selected the solo cello work “Ride Through,” by Jamaican composer Eleanor Alberga. Based on island children’s tunes, “her music is classical with elements of Jamaican music,” Palmer said.
The trio will play Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5,” one of his most famous pieces. “Everyone will recognize it after a few notes,” Palmer said.
The choral side of the program includes the Baroque ballet “Tirsi e Clori" by Claudio Monteverdi, with soloists from the choir — Alec Hicks, as Tirsi, and Sarah Dworjan as Clori — plus Palmer and Müller.
“It speaks to the transition between earlier forms of Italian madrigal and church music [and] a more operatic style,” Palmer said. “It’s very pastoral.”
“Zigeunerlieder” (Gypsy Songs) by Johannes Brahms is a suite of 11 songs. “It’s brilliant music,” Palmer enthused, “so varied in terms of emotions and stories.”
Some piano parts are quite technically challenging, he added. “It’s a nice opportunity for me to crack my fingers a little bit.” Palmer also helped the choir with some diction coaching on the complex German text, he noted.
The program includes the rousing Soviet Russian folk song “Kalinka,” and an Afro-Cuban folk song “Son de Camaguey,” arranged by Stephen Hatfield. “It’s a cappella with this very Latin Cuban dance swing to it,” Palmer said.
“This is not your large choir repertoire,” Goodman said. “It’s the only chance to hear chamber choir repertoire in the county — the new, the old and the rarely heard. Programming is [Cantilena’s] real strength, people come for the repertoire and level of performance, they know they’ll get something unusual.”
Music At Trinity's season will continue with on Nov. 6 with the Annual Requiem Eucharist with a community sing of “Fauré’s Requiem,” followed by Cantilena’s “Christmas at Trinity” on Dec. 4. Ukrainian soprano Irina Petrik will by accompanied by Palmer on piano during a recital on Feb. 19. Musicians of Ma’alwyck chamber quartet performs on March 19; an Evensong Service takes place on April 30 and the Cantilena Chamber Choir's Spring Concert rounds out the season on May 21.
IF YOU GO
What: “Music for the Dance” choral and chamber music with Cantilena Chamber Choir. Directed by Andrea Goodman.
With: The Palmer Trio with Noah Palmer, piano; Jamecyn Morey, violin; Julian Müller, cello.
Where: Trinity Church, 88 Walker St., Lenox
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16
Cost: $25; $20, students/seniors age 65 and over, Free age 12 and under. Available in advance and at the door.
Tickets: 518-791-0185, cantilenachoir.org