Vivaldi's Gloria and Sedek's The Four Seasons program
Program with Text and Translations | Musicians | Soloist Bio | Ensemble and Leader Bio
Program Notes | Our Board | In Memoriam | In Honor of
Gloria in D Major By Antonio Vivaldi
The Four Seasons: A Cantata By Martin Sedek
GMChorale and Alchemy
Elm City Girls' Choir, Tom Brand and Rebecca Rosenbaum, Music Directors
Orchestra New England, James Sinclair, Music Director
Conductor, Joseph D'Eugenio
Sunday - November 13, 2022 - 4:00pm
Santo Fragilio Performing Arts Center at Middletown High School, Middletown, CT
The program will be performed with one 15 minute intermission. Kindly hold applause until the end of each half. Please silence all devices and refrain from texting or taking photos during the concert.
Concerto Ripieno in C Major, RV114 - Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Gloria in D Major - Antonio Vivaldi.
1. Gloria in excelsis Deo
2. Et in terra pax
3. Laudamus te (Elm City Girls' Choir)
4. Gratias agimus tibi
5. Propter magnam gloria
6. Domine Deus (Elm City Girls' Choir)
7. Domine, Fili unigenite
8. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei (Margaret Tyler, soloist)
9. Qui tollis peccata mundi
10. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris (Pamela Frigo Johnson, soloist)
11. Quoniam tu solus sanctus
12. Cum Sancto Spiritu
The Four Seasons: A Cantata - Martin Sedek (b. 1985)
Louise Fauteux, Soprano Soloist; Raphael Ryger, Violin Soloist
GMChorale and Alchemy
The Elm City Girls' Choir
Jo Anne Burgh
Marion Magnolia Eno
Elise Fernandez Hsu
Violet Willcox Johnson
Aurelia Mae Keberle
Miriam Elizabeth Levenson
Ursula June Zebrowski
Tom Brand and Rebecca Rosenbaum, Music Directors
Orchestra New England
Raphael Ryger, concertmaster
Meet Our Featured Artists
Louise Fauteux, enjoys a diversified career in the arts devoted to education and performance. Her versatility as a soprano has afforded her opportunities with some of today’s most celebrated institutions, including a solo role in Peer Gynt with the New York Philharmonic and actor John de Lancie and a tour of Venice with DiCapo Opera and the Fairfield Chorale. Honors include a fellowship with the Carmel Bach Festival, national semifinalist for the MacAllister Awards, and a scholarship from Connecticut Opera. Pleased to be included in the Greater Middletown Chorale community, Ms. Fauteux is also locally active with Concora, New Haven Chorale, Farmington Valley Chorale, Connecticut Master Chorale, Worcester Chorus, and Con Brio. Ms. Fauteux will make her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2023 with Handel’s Messiah. Louise Fauteux received her master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and studied voice with Nan Nall, Laura Brooks Rice and Arthur Levy. She is a resident artist for the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford and a music instructor for the Connecticut Technical High Schools.
Raphael Ryger, has served as concertmaster, soloist, and chamber musician with many distinguished ensembles in Israel and in Connecticut. Ryger has performed with Orchestra New England since 1982, and has been its concertmaster since 1988. He has been the featured soloist on many occasions, including concertos and other works by J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Sarasate, Vivaldi, and John Williams.
Margaret Tyler has been featured as a soloist in the U.S. and Europe with the Greater Middletown Chorale, Voce, CONCORA, Alchemy, Collegium Ancora, Archangel Voices, and countless other choirs. Recordings with Voce include Sure on This Shining Night; Voce Live; Music of the Spheres; and Blessing: The Music of Paul Mealor. With Archangel Voices, Margaret is soloist on four albums of Russian and Greek Orthodox Byzantine chant. Icons Singing with Pax Chorum features the compositions of Kevin McGoff, OFM. Recordings with CONCORA include In Delightful Company; Choral Works by Charles Fussell, and Bach’s motets BWV 225-230. With Greater Middletown Chorale Margaret recorded the debut of compositions by Sarah Meneely Kyder from her autobiographical opera Letter From Italy, 1944. Margaret’s operatic roles have been many. For the world premiere of Letter From Italy, 1944, Margaret was chosen to portray Ms. Meneely-Kyder’s sister “Dorothea.” Margaret is also featured in Karyl Evans’s documentary of the opera, narrated by Meryl Streep. She created the role of “The Goddess Diana” in the premiere of Christopher Montgomery’s opera-oratorio Callisto. She has sung with Connecticut Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera and Salt Marsh Opera, bringing to life roles such as “Filippyevna” in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, “Mercedes” in Bizet’s Carmen, “Marcellina” in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, “Marthe Schwerlein” in Gounod’s Faust, and “Kate Pinkerton” in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Margaret was selected as a soloist in the U.S debut of Vivaldi’s most recently discovered work, Dixit Dominus. She was invited to Phoenix to perform in Allegri’s Miserere, and returned to sing the bass solos in an unusual performance of Handel’s The Messiah. She founded and directed the a cappella Renaissance ensemble Halcyon. She teaches voice through Calvary Music School in Stonington and is a vocal coach for several ensembles, including the GM Chorale. She is a lead singer at Calvary Church in Stonington, and a guest soloist at churches throughout the United States.
Pamela Frigo Johnson, mezzo-soprano, is originally from Wisconsin where her first singing experience was as a member of her family’s nine-voice choir singing sacred classical music for Catholic Masses. Pam received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music. She has been a featured soloist with the Hartford Symphony, the Manchester Symphony and Chorus, the Farmington Valley Symphony, the Middletown Chorale and the Battell Orchestra. She is a member of Connecticut Choral Artists and former member of VOCE, Inc.
GMChorale has become one of New England’s finest and most engaging choruses since its founding in 1977 as The Greater Middletown Chorale. Today, the GMChorale is celebrated for its innovative symphonic choral presentations. Under the leadership of Joseph D'Eugenio, performs a wide range of choral repertoire, from beloved masterworks to newly commissioned pieces. As the GMChorale enters its fifth decade, the organization is broadening its mission and the scope of its offerings to bring the power and beauty of choral music to people and communities across Connecticut. It is a core principle of the Chorale that the power of music is should be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Alchemy, the vocal chamber ensemble of GMChorale, was established in 2016 as a company of skilled ensemble singers, professional soloists, music educators, and instrumentalists. Alchemy’s mission is to advance GMChorale’s mission of “Singing for a Lifetime” through concert tours, collaborations, musical leadership, education, and community engagement. In 2018, Alchemy was a featured ensemble at the convention of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. The ensemble is known for its ability to adapt its sound to a broad variety of repertoire.
Joseph D'Eugenio (Artistic Director / Executive Director) has been bringing music to life across Southern New England for three decades as a conductor, artistic director, executive director, educator, pianist, organist, and coach for vocalists and conductors. He frequently conducts productions of major choral-orchestral masterworks, most often with GMChorale, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra New England. Performances include the oratorios of Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Carissimi; the masses of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Bruckner; the requiems of Mozart, Duruflé, Brahms, Fauré, and Cherubini; newly-commissioned works; and music of all genres, styles, and periods. D’Eugenio has been Artistic Director of GMChorale since 1999. Under his leadership, the chorale has become known as one of New England’s finest choruses, awarded and celebrated for its creative choral presentations, commissioned works, and dynamic collaborations. In 2009, D’Eugenio was named Conductor of the Year by the Connecticut Chapter of ACDA. In demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and collaborative pianist, D’Eugenio has led various workshops and festivals, and has conducted choral groups in high schools, colleges, and universities across Connecticut, including as visiting instructor at Wesleyan University in Middletown. D’Eugenio has served as Director of Music and organist at First Congregational Church in Cheshire, Connecticut since 2003, where he directs the church’s vibrant music program and chancel choir. D’Eugenio earned the Bachelor of Music (cum laude) in piano performance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, and the Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Connecticut.
Robert O'Brien (Managing Director) joined GMChorale in February 2020 after having worked with many Hartford area arts organizations, including the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and TheaterWorks. He brings a wealth of experience in arts management to GMChorale having previously completed a Masters Degree in International Arts Management at HEC Montreal, Southern Methodist University, and Bocconi University. Robert is an experienced performing arts producer and production manager having completed many projects in theater, music, dance, and interdisciplinary arts. Additionally, he has participated in virtual talks to various groups on Arts Management including at Universidad de los Andes located in Bogotá, Colombia. In addition to his work with cultural organizations, Robert is an accomplished vocal musician, holding a Bachelors of Music from McGill University where he studied under the renowned baritone, Sanford Sylvan.
Allan Conway (Accompanist) is in constant demand as a pianist, organist and accompanist, with extensive experience in the choral, vocal, operatic and instrumental literature. His commanding technical facility at the keyboard, ease and familiarity with a wide array of repertoire, sensitive interpretations, and keen sense of musical collaboration inform his many and varied performances. Mr. Conway received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the Hartt School of Music, where he studied with Raymond Hanson and was recipient of the prestigious Harold Bauer Memorial Scholarship. Active in the liturgical field, Mr. Conway has served numerous churches. Presently, he is Minister of Music at the United Congregational Church of Tolland. Mr. Conway is Organist and Choir Director at Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford a position he has held since 1977.
Elm City Girls' Choir
The Elm City Girls’ Choir, founded by Thomas Brand in 1993, has earned the reputation of being one of America’s finest youth choirs. The Saecula Singers ensemble of girls and young women is known for its vibrant sound, infectious energy, and creative programming, with a repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to Broadway show tunes.
Tom Brand (Elm City Girls' Choir) grew up singing in New Haven’s Trinity Boys Choir under Walden Moore and in the American Boychoir under James Litton. He earned degrees in choral conducting at Yale University and is Music Director of the Saecula Choir Institute, Earthly Sound Vocal Ensemble, Saecula Women’s Choir, VocalJoy, and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bridgeport, CT.
Rebecca Rosenbaum (Elm City Girls' Choir) has conducted various ensembles of Elm City Girls’ Choir, Saecula Singers, and United Girls’ Choir, and also served as Director of Choral Activities at Vassar College, where she taught classes and conducted the Vassar Women’s Choir. She also has taught at Yale University and Bay Path College, and has appeared as guest conductor and clinician for several regional choral festivals and music programs throughout the country. Rebecca earned a BA in music from Vassar College and her MM and DMA in choral conducting at Yale University.
Orchestra New England
Orchestra New England (O.N.E.) is one of the most versatile and exciting orchestras in America. Since its founding in 1974, Orchestra New England has presented over 700 concerts with a passion for excellence, signature enthusiasm and innovation. Most of these performances were presented at Yale’s Battell Chapel, with other engagements taking place in concert halls throughout New England. From its 1974 debut performance of an unpublished work by Charles Ives to its almost 150 performances of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, O.N.E. continues to set the standard for outstanding performances of both familiar and neglected works. O.N.E. has made commercial recordings for many prestigious labels.
James Sinclair (Orchestra New England) has served as the Music Director of Orchestra New England since its founding in 1974. His versatility in delivering superb performances in a variety of styles – from the Baroque to pops literature – drives the remarkable success of Orchestra New England. James Sinclair is also among the world's pre-eminent scholars and champions of the music of Charles Ives. He is the Executive Editor for the Charles Ives Society, supervising the work of Ives scholars throughout the United States. A native of Washington, DC, James Sinclair earned his bachelor's degree in music at Indiana University and taught at the University of Hawaii, where he earned his master's degree. He relocated to New Haven in 1972, where he served as an Assistant Professor and a Visiting Lecturer in Music at Yale University. Sinclair is an Associate Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale and oversees both the John Kirkpatrick Papers and the Charles Ives Papers at Yale.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4, 1678, son of Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Camilla Calicchio. It seems that Antonio’s life was immediately in danger, as he was baptized by the midwife immediately after his birth. There is also a possibility that his mother dedicated his life to the priesthood that day. Some sources say his life was endangered because there was an earthquake in Venice, while others say the earthquake was on March 17 of the following year. Antonio’s health was always poor, with a chronic ailment he later described as “tightness of the chest” (probably asthma or angina), so perhaps his difficulty in breathing is why an emergency baptism seemed in order. His official baptism was two months later. He had five younger siblings.
Giovanni Battista was a professional violinist and possibly a composer himself. He played violin at the Basilica di San Marcos. He taught Antonio the violin at an early age and toured the Venetian Republic playing violin with his young son. The maestro di cappella at San Marcos was Giovanni Legrenzi, an early Baroque composer who probably gave the young prodigy his first lessons in composition. Antonio’s first known composition is Laetatus sum (RV Anh 31), written at the age of thirteen.
In 1693, at the age of fifteen, Antonio began studying to become a priest. Not only had his mother dedicated him to the priesthood at birth, but also this was one of the few ways a child from a poor or middle-class family could get a good education. During his training, he lived with his parents. He developed his skills in composition and became a virtuosic violinist.
He was ordained in 1703 at age 25, and was soon nicknamed “il Prete Rosso” or “the Red Priest” because of his flaming red hair. Shortly after his ordination he was given a dispensation from celebrating Mass, possibly because of his ill health. Another factor may have been his distraction from his priestly duties; apparently he would leave the altar during Mass to jot down the compositions that occurred to him during the service! He withdrew from liturgical duties but, despite his censure, remained a “secular” member of the priesthood and was an ardent Catholic until his death. Later in his life it was said of him that he had a rosary in his hand at all times unless he was playing or composing music.
In the year of his ordination, Antonio was appointed violin master for the girls at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice, one of four orphanages in Venice which provided shelter and education to children who were abandoned or orphaned, or whose families could not take care of them. The boys in these institutions would learn a trade and had to leave at age fifteen; the girls received a musical education, and the more talented among them could remain as members of the choir and orchestra. This particular Ospedale was a home for the illegitimate children of noblemen and so was very well-funded by the “anonymous” fathers, with musical standards among the highest in Venice.
Vivaldi was soon appointed as the viola teacher in addition to his duties as violin instructor, and for a time the position of choirmaster was added to his responsibilities. Vivaldi wrote a wide variety of sacred music for the girls, including concertos, cantatas, oratorios, solo motets and grand choral works. Under his tutelage the choir and orchestra of the Ospedale della Pietà began to gain international renown.
Antonio had a strong personality and did not always get along with the board of directors of the Ospedale, who had to vote every year on whether to keep a teacher. In 1709 the board voted against him 7 to 6. So Vivaldi became a freelance musician for a year, composing and publishing music, and perhaps also already working for the Venetian opera theater Teatro Sant’ Angelo. L’estro armonico, his collection of twelve concertos published in Amsterdam during this time, was dedicated to the Grand Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany, who also sponsored many musicians such as Scarlatti and Handel. L’estro armonico (Opus 3, “Harmonic Inspiration”) was a resounding success in Europe and effectively launched his composing career.
In 1711 Vivaldi was recalled to teach at the Ospedale by unanimous vote, and in 1716 he was promoted to concertmaster, responsible for all the musical activity of the orphanage. Despite traveling extensively in later years, he maintained a working relationship with the Ospedale as “Maestro di concerti” throughout the remainder of his life, regularly supplying the girls with new compositions and rehearsing with them while he was in Venice.
The Gloria in D Major that we are singing today, RV589, was written around 1715. It is one of Vivaldi’s most popular choral works and was originally composed for the girls at the Ospedale. There are twelve sections, each expounding upon the words of the Gloria in Excelsis Deo from the Latin Mass. Vivaldi uses widely different styles and rhythmic contrasts to illustrate the meaning of the words. For example, the first movement (“Glory to God in the highest”) is a joyous chorus in D major; the orchestral introduction sets up themes of jubilant octave leaps and a rhythmic melody, while the choir enters with declamatory chorale-like phrases. The second movement (“And on earth peace to men of goodwill”) is in B minor, and is in triple rather than duple time. It is slower and more chromatic, reminding us of Renaissance motets in its textures and overlapping imitative lines. Vivaldi’s masterfully crafted characterization of each line of the text of the Gloria culminates in a double fugue in the last section (“With the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father, Amen”). This double fugue is an adaptation of the ending of a Gloria for two choirs written by the Veronese composer Giovanni Maria Ruggieri in 1708.
The Concerto for Strings in C Major, RV114, is a two-movement piece copied out by Vivaldi’s father in the 1720s, and was probably composed after 1717. Its original manuscript is in the library of the Paris Conservatory, so it is known as one of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Paris Concertos.” Out of the more than 500 concertos that Antonio wrote in his lifetime, it was one of approximately 60 that was written for string orchestra alone, with no solo part. This short piece may have helped to catalyze the emerging genre of the orchestral symphony, as it is written primarily in the French Baroque style, but also shows influences of the later Classical style. The second movement is especially innovative in its use of variation within the French chaconne form.
Opera was the most popular musical entertainment at this time. Vivaldi composed at least 94 operas during his lifetime, around 50 of which have been discovered. His opera compositions proved to be a lucrative source of income. His earliest known opera was performed at the Teatro San Angelo in 1713; in the years that followed, he traveled to Mantua, Milan, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam and other European cities to produce and promote his many operatic works.
In 1718-1721 Vivaldi lived in Mantua (also called Mantova), having accepted the position of Maestro di Cappella in the court of the governor of Mantua, Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt. It was during this time that Vivaldi met Anna Tessieri Girò, an elegant young soprano who became his student. Anna and her older half-sister Paolina moved in with Vivaldi. Anna became his housekeeper and traveling companion. As one might expect, there was much speculation as to whether Antonio and Anna were in a romantic relationship, but Vivaldi vehemently denied such rumors. He stayed together with Anna until his death.
It was probably during his time in Mantua that Vivaldi composed his most popular work, a group of four concertos called le quattro stagioni (“The Four Seasons”). Each of these concertos gives musical expression to a season of the year, inspired by a sonnet that describes the scenes depicted by the music. These sonnets were probably written by Vivaldi himself. The concertos are the first known example of the instrumental representation of specific sounds of nature. Sounds mentioned in the sonnets, such as the singing of various bird species, mosquitos, flowing creeks, barking dogs, storms, and drunken dancers, are clearly recognizable in the music. This was a conceptual revolution at the time, and these concertos became wildly popular, especially in France. They were published in Amsterdam with eight other concertos in 1725.
During the early 1720s Vivaldi was active in Rome under the patronage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni.
During his three years there, he was invited by the new Pope Benedict XIII for a private audience to play
the violin. Commissions and honors from European royalty and nobles were many, especially during the
years following the publication of The Four Seasons. Highlights include compositions in honor of the
marriage of Louis XV and to commemorate the birth of the French royal princesses Henriette and Louise
Élisabeth. Emperor Charles VI gave Vivaldi the title of knight, a gold medal, and an invitation to Vienna.
Vivaldi moved frequently from city to city, writing and producing operas and other music, and earning a
great deal of money. By 1733 he had stopped publishing his concertos, preferring to sell the
handwritten compositions for much more than he would make from the published versions.
In 1737, Vivaldi was censured by the Catholic Church for “conduct unbecoming a priest” because of the
scandalous rumors surrounding his relationship with Anna. In 1738 Vivaldi returned to Venice. His
popularity was waning; changing musical tastes were making his music seem old-fashioned. Venice was
in an economic downturn at the time, and Vivaldi began to have financial difficulties. In hopes of
moving to Vienna and taking up a position as composer in the imperial court of Emperor Charles VI, the
composer began selling off his manuscripts in earnest. He finally resigned from the Ospedale and
journeyed to Vienna in 1740.
Soon after Vivaldi’s arrival in Vienna, Charles VI died. With no royal protection and no steady source of income, Vivaldi quickly became impoverished. He took a room in the house of the widow of a Viennese saddlemaker. During the night of July 27 or early morning of July 28, 1741, at age 63, he died of “internal fire.”
Vivaldi’s funeral was held at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Joseph Haydn was a young choirboy there at the time, but since Vivaldi was a pauper there was no music at the funeral. His grave was in a burial ground owned by the public hospital fund. Anna Girò returned to Venice, where she lived until her death in 1750.
During his lifetime, Vivaldi composed more than 500 concertos. He helped to establish the structure of fast-slow-fast movements that even still defines the concerto form. He was the first to use the “ritornello” form regularly, in which restatements of a refrain alternate with solo passages, enabling virtuosic display by solo instrumentalists. About 230 of his concertos are for violin, about 40 for the bassoon, 25 for the cello, 15 for oboe, 10 for flute, and others for viola d’amore, recorder, lute and even the mandolin. In addition to his prodigious number of concertos, Vivaldi composed at least 60 mass movements, 40 cantatas, 3 oratorios, and numerous psalms, hymns, antiphons, vespers, and motets. He wrote more than 90 sonatas, and, as previously noted, at least 94 operas.
We know that Vivaldi’s concertos in particular had a deep influence on Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach transcribed several of Vivaldi’s concertos, five of which were from the L’estro armonico collection, and adopted Vivaldi’s conventions of structure and form.
After the end of the Baroque period, Vivaldi’s work became relatively unknown. After almost 200 years of decline, interest was revived in his compositions during the early 20th century. Scholars rediscovered many of his manuscripts, and in 1939 composer and pianist Alfredo Casella organized the Vivaldi Week revival. The Gloria we are performing today was reintroduced to the public at this festival. Since World War II the music of Vivaldi has been performed widely. His compositions are still being discovered, one (Dixit Dominus, RV807) as recently as 2006.
Described as "a formidable new composer" by the Worcester Telegram, Polish-American composer and conductor Martin Sędek was born in Germany and raised in Poland and the United States. He is an award-winning voice in the world of choral and orchestral music, educated at Berklee College of Music in Boston (BM), Montclair State University (MM), and Rutgers University (PhD). Martin has studied composition with Tarik O'Regan, Robert Aldridge, and Matthew Harris, with additional studies with Steven Stucky, Chen Yi, and Steven Sametz. He has studied conducting with David Callahan and Julius Williams, with additional studies with William Weinert and Craig Hella Johnson.
Martin is Composer-in-Residence at Harmonium Choral Society & The Baldwin Festival Chorus of NYC. He is currently the Music Director and Conductor of Choral Art Society of NJ and Associate Conductor for The Masterwork Chorus. Martin was a member of the choral and theory faculties at Montclair State University’s Cali School of Music from 2011-2020, and is currently chair of the music department and Director of Music at Keio Academy of New York. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa and commissioned by professional ensembles around the US. Notable composition awards include the Yale Glee Club Emerging Composer Award (2015) and the Stephen Paulus Prize (2018). He is a regular visiting lecturer in the collegiate composition studio throughout the US and his works are published by Ovation Music & Hal Leonard. His recordings are available on the Albany and Ovation Music Media labels. His website may be found at https://www.martinsedek.com. Sędek composed Cantata for the Four Seasons in 2014. Its world premiere was performed in 2015 by Choral Art Society of New Jersey under Sędek’s direction. Cantata for the Four Seasons is written for string orchestra, mixed chorus, solo soprano, and solo violin. It features choral settings of the sonnets that were written by Vivaldi himself as basis for his most popular work, The Four Seasons. The Cantata honors the original orchestration, structures, and text-painting of the earlier work, with small fragments of Vivaldi’s themes interpolated into the newer piece. The culmination merges the two works together in a recapitulation of “Spring,” with the chorus singing over Vivaldi’s original music. The Greater Middletown Chorale is proud to present the Connecticut premiere of Martin Sędek’s choral fantasy on Vivaldi’s most famous concerto.
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