The Church of Saint Anne in Garwood hosted a concert of sacred music, June 1, sponsored by the Rosary Society of Saint Anne and featuring local soprano Abigail Clyne accompanied by church music director Tom Carter, on piano and organ. Repertoire included a host of traditional songs and works from the classic and romantic eras to the modern era, including four Goldberg Variations transposed from the original Bach.
Monsignor Ron Marczewski, pastor of St. Anne’s, provided the welcome and introduction to the concert and mentioned that his parish would begin sponsoring great pieces of musical art from the great heritage of the Roman Catholic Church and would highlight local talent from within his congregation.
The audience was enthralled for the roughly 50 minutes of music without intermission. One musical heavy-hitter after another was offered, including the Schubert and Gounod version of the Ave Maria, Mozart’s Ave verum corpus and his Alleluia from the Exsultate, jubilate. Further repertoire included He Shall Feed His Flock from Handel’s great oratorio The Messiah and the Pie Jesu from the Requiem in D minor by Gabriel Fauré.
The featured artist, soprano Abigail Clyne — a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and a cantor at the parish — is a true gem. Clyne presented a beautifully trained and magnificently rich and full voice. Her breath control, phrasing and enunciation were excellent and her pitch flawless. Her voice for these sacred songs was simple, pure and honest.
Clyne has performed in several serious works to this point in her career, including the role of Ida in Die Fledermaus with the Oberlin Opera Theater, the title role in Handel’s opera Semele with the Brookdale Concordia Chorale. She was also soprano soloist in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children, presented by the Arcadian Chorale.
Carter offered two pieces of his own, the Variations on “St. Anne” from the Homage a Pachelbel on organ and Four Goldberg Variations from J.S Bach BWV 988 on piano. These pieces provided interesting texture to the concert and gave Clyne a chance to rest her voice.
It should be noted that the acoustics in the church are superb, as the elongated interior is constructed of plaster, marble and wood with a high ceiling. The soprano soloist was positioned under the arch in the sanctuary, where her full, smooth voice projected and carried throughout the church, amplified beautifully into the nave, where the audience was seated.
The traditional, classic and serious repertoire, as opposed to much of the musical schlock that had infiltrated its way into Church repertoire from the 1970s to the 1990s and beyond, was truly appreciated by the audience. Both soprano and accompanist received a heartfelt, enthusiastic standing applause by an audience that appreciated excellent music.