Mary Charlotte Elia and Peggy Kelley Reinburg

      A recital in Virginia Wesleyan College's Familiar Faces program was given at First Presbyterian Church in Norfolk on February 22, 2004 by Ms. Reinburg on the organ and Ms. Elia, sorano.

      The opening and closing pieces, J.S.Bach's (1685-1750) Piece d'Orgue BWV 572 and 572/2 and Two Fugues on the Name BACH, op. 60 by Robert Schumann (1810-1856) were a showcase for Ms. Reinburg but tucked within the program were three pieces for voice.

      Ms. Reinburg chose this venue because it houses the best organ in our area. This organ certainly is a mighty instrument in the skilled hands of Peggy Kelley Reinburg.

      The organ became the accompaniment in the second piece Selve, caverne e monti by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757). Charlotte Elia sang this solo cantata wonderfully well with its recitative followed by an aria in which she begs cupid to kill her if he will not return her beloved. In the second aria she is resigned to accepting whatever comes in this love with the consolation that at least you have dreamed of me.

      Michel Corrette's (1709-1795) organ work Premier Livre d'Orgue, Magnificat du Premier ton has an ancient accordion sound in the Basse de Cromhorne Movement, and ended with a great rumble and roar. Our singer returned with The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), who is a master at setting English texts and Ms. Elia is a master at singing them. With clarity and a sweet tone she added Baroque ornamentation, a skill that she has developed in the last year, as she sang "Tell me, some pitying Angel . . ." I thrilled at the excitement and beauty in her voice when she called "Gabriel! Gabriel! Gabriel!" and the decorated word "once" where her voice dances with ornamentation. It is the human voice that touches my heart best and most easily.

      Two organ pieces, Allegro, Chorale and Fugue by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847) and Jehan Ariste Alain's (1911-1940) Postlude pour l'Office de Complies opened the second half. Ms. Reinburg told us of the magic of having the carillon bells chime as she touched the keys to play this piece in the very church for which Alain had composed it.

      Ms. Elia sang Three Odes of Solomon by Alan Hovanhess (1911-2000) No way is Hard, As the Wings of Doves and As the Work of the Husbandman. These pieces expand the tonal palette by using scales and ragas of Eastern music and by drawing on his Armenian roots. This music, with its chant-like meditative energy displayed another facet of this versatile young singer. The accompaniment on organ was discreet and supportive, never obscuring the text. This was a fine collaboration.

Back to Elia & Reinburg