Office of Communications
Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

March 29, 2002

CONTACT: Ruta Smithson (609) 258-3763

Choral Music to Complement Religious Paintings by van Dyck and Titian at Princeton University Art Museum

Concert Date: Sunday April 21, 2002

PRINCETON, NJ -- The Princeton Singers, under the direction of Artistic Director Steven Sametz, will present a rich variety of choral music at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Princeton University Art Museum.

The program, presented in conjunction with the museum's special exhibition "Anthony van Dyck: Ecce Homo and The Mocking of Christ," will reflect the music of the early seventeenth century, when Van Dyck created his masterpieces, as well as demonstrating The Singers' stylistic flexibility and range of repertoire.

Two auxiliary exhibitions, "In the Mirror of Christ's Passion: In Search of Artistry and Spirituality" and "Reflections of the Passion: Selected Works from the Princeton University Art Museum," have been organized in conjunction with the Van Dyck exhibition. All will be on view through June 9, 2002.

The choral music program will open with the sparkling textures of Heinrich Schütz's Cantate Domino. Stepping back from the Baroque into the Renaissance, the choir will present Josquin's poignant Deploration sur la mort de Ockeghem, a lament on the death of his teacher Johannes Ockeghem. A very different side of Schütz's compositional style is heard in his cycle of five Passion motets. Written during the Thirty Years' War, these austere and complex works seem to embody not only the suffering inherent in their texts, but in the circumstances of their composition. Composed in the same decade as the Van Dyck masterpieces on exhibition, the motets were chosen to present an intensely beautiful musical interpretation of the Passion presented visually in Van Dyck's works.

The program spans more recent centuries as well: sure to be a pleasant surprise to many is the setting of Singet dem Herrn by Hugo Distler, an organist whose choral
compositions change color and character much as a skillful organist changes
registrations within a work. Contemporary compositions in several styles also will be
heard: Libby Larsen's Sweet and Sour Nursery Rhymes and a preview performance of Steven Sametz's new work Never More Will the Wind.

The Princeton Singers have earned a reputation as one of the nation's finest choral
ensembles in the eighteen years since the choir's inception. Now in their fourth season
under the direction of Steven Sametz, they continue to widen their stylistic range. The
group's repertoire of sacred and secular music spans a wide cross-section of the choral
tradition, maintaining an emphasis on unaccompanied singing. The style that has become
the choir's hallmark stresses purity of sound and tuning in a rich vocal
palette of color and tone, allowing the ensemble to adapt to a variety of musical

In the past three seasons, the Singers have established a tradition of collaboration,
appearing with the Resident Choir of the American Boychoir School and with Westminster Choir College's Schola Cantorum. In June, the Princeton Singers and the vocal ensemble Chanticleer presented the joint prémière of a new Sametz work commissioned by the Princeton Singers for these two ensembles. In 1988, 1994, and 1996, the group toured England, where they were Choir-in-Residence at St. Paul's Cathedral and at Westminster Abbey, and sang to capacity audiences at the internationally renowned Three Choirs Festival and in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge. The Singers have been featured performers at the centennial convention of the American Guild of Organists, and were twice the guest celebrity choir at national conventions of the Association of Anglican Musicians. They have appeared on National Public Radio's "Performance Today" and "With Heart and Voice" and have broadcast for the BBC. In the past two years, the choir has added three recordings to its discography: "Reincarnations," "Christmas with The Princeton Singers," and "Old, New, Borrowed, Blues," a collection of folk music from around the world.

During the summer of 2002, the Mocking of Christ and Ecce Homo will be shown with the Titian Ecce Homo at the National Gallery of Ireland,. The three paintings are then scheduled to travel to the Courtauld Gallery, London, to be exhibited with a related oil sketch on paper by Van Dyck that is too fragile to travel. The Barber Institute will be the final venue for the fully reconstituted exhibition in the fall of 2002. Princeton is thus the only American venue for the exhibition which is made possible through support from the Friends of Princeton University Art Museum.

Related Exhibitions

March 9 - June 9, 2002
"In the Mirror of Christ's Passion: In Search of Artistry and Spirituality"

March 9 - June 9, 2002
"Reflections of the Passion: Selected Works from the Princeton University Art Museum"

Related Events

April 5, 12:30 p.m., and April 7, 3:00 p.m.
Gallery Talk: "Titian, Van Dyck, and the Body of Christ"
Betsy Rosasco, associate curator of Later Western art
Princeton University Art Museum

April 12
Film: Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ
Introduced by P. Adams Sitney, professor, Visual Arts Program
7:00 p.m., James Stewart Theater, 185 Nassau Street
Reception to follow, Lucas Gallery

April 19
Gallery Talk: "Reflections of the Passion in the Art of the Late Middle Ages"
Victoria S. Reed, Friends curatorial research associate
12:30 p.m., Princeton University Art Museum

April 19
Film: Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Gospel According to Matthew
Introduced by Jeffrey L. Stout, professor, Department of Religious Studies
7:00 p.m., James Stewart Theater, 185 Nassau Street

April 21
Music: Princeton Singers in Concert
Steven Sametz, artistic director
3:00 p.m., Mary Ellen Bowen Gallery
Princeton University Art Museum

April 23
Lecture: "Christ's Passion in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages"
James Marrow, professor emeritus, Department of Art and Archaeology
4:30 p.m., McCormick 101
Reception to follow in the museum

April 26
Film: Luis Buñuel, Viridiana
Introduced by Michael Wood, chairman, Department of English
7:00 p.m., James Stewart Theater, 185 Nassau Street

April 26, 12:30 p.m., and April 28, 3:00 p.m.
Gallery Talk: "The Mirror of Christ's Passion"
Todor Todorov, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art and Archaeology
Princeton University Art Museum

The art museum is open to the public without charge. Free highlights tours of the collection are given every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Monday and major holidays. The museum shop closes at 5:00 p.m. The museum is located in the middle of the Princeton University campus. Picasso's large sculpture Head of a Woman stands in front. For further information, please call (609) 258-3788.