by Anna Cherkasova, staff writer
|The Honolulu Symphony Chorus, however, was brave
enough to accept the challenge to prepare a Russian piece. “We
wanted to perform Alexander Nevsky awhile ago. Now it is a time,” said
Karen Kennedy, director of the chorus, which performed Sergei
Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky Nov. 11 and 13 at Blaisdell
Prokofiev wrote Alexander Nevsky in 1939 and it became one of
the world’s first soundtracks. It was written exclusively
for the movie Alexander Nevsky, directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
Briefly, in 1242, Prince Alexander Nevsky was defending Novrogod
and the Russian homeland from the Germans. The Germans attacked
the Russian forces on an iced-over lake at Raven’s Rock.
The Germans were crushed and defeated in a pincer counter attack.
The fleeing Germans, in their heavy armor, fell through the ice
and drowned. Russia was saved.
Presentation of the symphony started in the second half of the
concert with a clip from the movie shown to the audience. The
battle on the ice, the scene that is considered one of the best
battle scenes in world cinematography, prepared the audience
for the mood of the symphony.
And then the action began.
Japanese conductor Norichika Iimori took the audience into old
Russia with its struggles and happiness, defeats and victories.
The powerful sound filled the air. The depth of the chorus’ voices
and orchestra instruments helped the audience absorb every note
of the glorious symphony. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore performed
solo in the sixth movement, singing about loss and the death
The conclusion was phenomenal; when the chorus sang the Alexander’s
Entry into Pskov movement, the audience exploded with ovations.
A crying man stood up and shouted “Bravo,” and the
whole audience stood up. Conductor Iimori, soloist Lattimore,
and director Kennedy had three curtain calls each.
The audience was astonished not only by the performance of Alexander
Nevsky, they were also fascinated by the first half of the concert.
The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra led by Iimori performed A Night
on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky and Serenade for Strings
by Peter Tchaikovsky.
After the performance, people who participated received much
praises from the audience. Among them was Carol Jenkins, an HPU
librarian who has been singing in Honolulu Symphony Chorus since
1979. She was very satisfied with the performance and with the
work of the conductor, who, with only basic knowledge of English,
was able to lead the chorus and the orchestra to the success. “Becoming
a member of the Symphony Chorus was one of the best decisions
I’ve ever made,” Jenkins said.
The 2005-2006 Concert Season for the Honolulu Symphony Chorus
and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra in the Blaisdell Concert
Hall will continue with the Honolulu Symphony Holiday Pops Concerts
and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in December, and Mozart’s
Requiem during the Hawai‘i International Choral Festival