Chicago A Cappella Pairs Music of the Beatles with Baroque Choral Works

Beatlemania is all the rage right now, with newly remastered recordings and a Rock Band video game. Chicago a cappella, one of the city’s most acclaimed singing groups, has put together an interesting program for its first concert of the year. Here’s a press release with more information:

Chicago a cappella offers a classical twist on Beatlemania at its innovative season-opener, Baroque and Beatles. The acclaimed ensemble will bring together two distinctive musical styles, singing Baroque works from the 16th and 17th centuries side-by-side with a cappella arrangements of legendary pop songs by Lennon and McCartney. These thoughtful pairings of Beatles songs with works by J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell, Claudio Monteverdi, and others, will invite comparisons in mood, structure, text, and feeling as these two genres “come together” in a fascinating way.

Musical Pairings

Chicago a cappella artistic director Jonathan Miller, a Ph.D. in musicology, has loved the Beatles since he was thirteen. Miller writes: “In the 1960s, pop-music culture in Britain and America was focused on releasing and expressing emotions—you know, ‘let it all hang out.’ This struck me as having parallels with the Baroque ‘doctrine of the affections,’ a mindset that held much sway from about 1600 to 1750. Europeans believed that music was a powerful emotional force, and the music that survives from Monteverdi to Handel still has the power to move us in specific ways today. To make these parallel ideas clear in our concert, we’ve paired each Baroque work with a Beatles song in the same mood.”

From the Sixteenth Century to the Sixties

In Baroque and Beatles, the nine singers of Chicago a cappella will delve into Baroque riches including the final scene from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, J.S. Bach’s masterful double-choir motet “Komm, Jesu, komm,” and Italian madrigals by Carlo Gesualdo and Claudio Monteverdi. From the Beatles catalog, the ensemble will perform brilliant a cappella versions of “Taxman,” “Blackbird,” “Penny Lane,” “Within You Without You,” “Ticket to Ride,” and others. The ensemble will also reprise an arrangement of “Got to Get You Into My Life” which was written especially for Chicago a cappella by the acclaimed San Francisco-based composer Paul Crabtree

Baroque and Beatles will take place Saturday, October 3, at 8:00 pm, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. in Evanston, IL; Friday, Oct. 9, at 8:00 pm, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave. in Naperville, IL; Saturday, Oct. 10, at 8:00 pm, at Anne & Howard Gottlieb Hall, 38 S. Peoria St. in Chicago, IL; and Sunday, Oct. 11, at 4:00 pm, at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St. in Oak Park, IL. For tickets and information, visit or call (773) 755-1628.

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