Songs of love and marriage April 1

Washington University choirs present ‘Many Waters’

The Washington University choirs performing in Graham Chapel last fall. Photo by Whitney Curtis/WUSTL Photo Services.

Many waters cannot quench love.
Nor will rivers overflow it

— Song of Songs 8:7a.

Written in 1956 as a gift for a friend’s wedding, Daniel Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata consists of four movements based on texts from The Song of Songs (aka The Song of Solomon), the Biblical book most explicitly dedicated to the joys of earthly love.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, April 1, the Washington University Concert Choir and the Washington University Chamber Choir will present Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata as the centerpiece of “Many Waters,” a concert of songs about love and marriage.

Nicole Aldrich

The performance, directed by Nicole Aldrich, is free and open to the public and will take place in Graham Chapel. Pianist will be Sandra Geary, teacher of applied music in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.

Graham Chapel is located immediately north of the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email

Also featured on the program will be Johann Sebastian Bach’s Der Herr denket an uns (“The Lord careth for us”).

Though its origins remain in doubt, the piece is believed to date from the early 18th century and was likely composed for a wedding. (Scholars speculate that it was written for the wedding of Johann Lorenz Stauber and Regina Wedemann, in 1708. Wedemann was the aunt of Bach’s wife; Stauber officiated at Bach’s own marriage the year before.)

Other highlights will include Six Madrigals, by the contemporary composer William Hawley; and Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, set to texts by his wife, the soprano Hila Plitmann.

Rounding out the program will be Let the People Praise Thee, O God by William Mathias, which was written for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana; Ubi caritas by Paul Mealor, which was written for the wedding of Prince William and Kate; and folk songs from the United States, Newfoundland and Finland.

Drawing musicians from across the campus community, both the Concert Choir and the new Chamber Choir perform masterworks from five centuries and across many cultures, encompassing sacred and secular works, folk and art music, and accompanied and a cappella repertoire.