Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 27th, 2014

by Sam Juliano

Brian Floca’s dazzling picture picture book Locomotive, which relates a family’s cross-country journey from a depot in Omaha, Nebraska to the new home that is waiting for them in San Francisco on the just completed transcontinental railroad, was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal in a bit of a surprise decision from the American Library Association at their winter meeting this morning.  Though Locomotive appeared on virtually every ten best list of children’s books, it was thought it would probably win a silver Honor, largely because of the committee’s usual aversion to non-fiction winners for the big prize, and because the prolific Floca had been previously ignored several times for some great books he authored and illustrated.   It was generally though that the race would be between Journey and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. (more…)

Read Full Post »

20140126_163256

Choral Art Society of New Jersey after classical performance in Westfield, New Jersey

Will Aaron Becker be wearing the Caldecott Gold for JOURNEY today?

by Sam Juliano

A blustery cold afternoon outside the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, New Jersey on Sunday, January 26th was mightily tempered by the inner glow experienced by those who exited onto Mountain Avenue after  the latest concert by the Choral Art Society of New Jersey.  Entering their 51st year the non-profit group presently led by musical director Martin A. Sedek, performed two of the most widely performed choral works in the repertoire.  Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, a personal favorite, has long been admired for its clarity, balance, serenity and ethereal beauty, all qualities sustained in an exceptionally stirring performance by the 40 strong singers of the Choral Art Society and 21 musicians of the Choral Art Society Orchestra.

It has long been asserted that Faure composed his Requiem -one of the most sublime works in the sacred classical canon- as an agnostic, yet the ardor of its spirituality is astounding.  The Requiem is a transcendental work, but Faure is quoted as having said that he wanted it to be more of a comfort than as a rumination of our final years.  The Choral Art Society’s featured soprano Valerie Bernhardt and baritone John-Andrew Fernandez delivered electrifying vocal turns and both the “Agnus Dei” and the extraordinarily beautiful and most readily identifiable final section “In Paradisum” were sung with uncommon emotional intensity and played with aching lyricism by the committed string section of the orchestra.  Faure’s Requiem, sung in Latin, has in recent decades come to be considered one of the greatest of all requiems, and the Choral Art Society of New Jersey brought this beloved work a refreshing shade of musical serenity. (more…)

Read Full Post »