Maurice Whitney — Oratorios return after war
This is the latest in an occasional series of posts about Maurice Whitney, head of music at Glens Falls School District for 25 years.
It took Franz Joseph Hadyn 18 months to compose the oratorio “Creation,” wrote Post-Star music columnist Brunnhilde McCune on Dec. 12, 1946.
“Haydn, a deeply religious man, said he was never so pious as when writing this work. The result was his greatest creation, and perhaps the best known,” she wrote.
Glens Falls concert goers waited three years to hear it performed locally, as the Oratorio Society of the Glens Falls Operetta Club canceled its 1944 and 1945 performances during World War II.
There was a capacity crowd when Maurice Whitney conducted the oratorio Dec. 11, 1946 at First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls.
“The perfection last night was characterized by dignity and breadth,” McCune wrote. “Maurice Whitney showed his ability as conductor by the way in which he handled the large chorus. All parts were well defined, attack and release were expert, and fine climaxes were obtained.”
Soloists were Margaret DeMarsh, soprano, Fred Morris of Scotia, bass, and Joseph Kent Williams of New York City, tenor.
Stanley E. Saxton of Skidmore accompanied the chorus on organ, and Gertrude Clark Jones on piano.
The most recent previous work the Oratorio Society had performed was “Hymn of Praise” by Felix Mendelssohn in 1943.
“That the Oratorio Society has seen fit to resume its work, which was interrupted by the war, is to be commended,” McCune wrote. “Such an organization is a great thing for any city, if only for the experience to be obtained by studying masterpieces. When to this is added the opportunity which is given the public in hearing them performed, the benefit cannot be estimated.”
In other Maurice Whitney history news:
- Maurice Whitney was doing what he loved best — making music — as he saw the old year out in 1946.
A quartet of Whitney, A. Carlos “Sparky” Johnson. Ralph Thomas and William Roberts, with Stanley Granger accompanying on piano, sang several selections at the Mr. and Mrs. Club New Year’s Eve party at Christ Church Methodist in Glens Falls.
About 200 people attended the supper that Christ Church hostess Nettie Patterson prepared.
Entertainment included a variety of music, dance and comedy performances, including the Rev. Walter J. Benedict, Christ Church pastor, impersonating radio commentator Gabriel Heatter in the skit “Bad News Tonight.”
Heatter’s radio program was “Good News Tonight.”
Norman Steves called square dancing to music by Marie Fouleo’s Orchestra.
The party preceded the City Council of Churches watch night service at Christ Church.
- On Dec. 21, The Post-Star reported that Whitney composed the anthem “Now Sing Noel,” that the Christ Church choir would sing the next morning.
Click here to read the most recent previous post in this series.