Oratorio Society of NY Performs Mahler, Beethoven, and Karen P. Thomas

Kent Tritle Conducts the Oratorio Society of New York. Photo courtesy kenttritle.com
Kent Tritle Conducts the Oratorio Society of New York. Photo courtesy kenttritle.com

NEW YORK – The Oratorio Society of NY Performs Mahler, Beethoven, and Karen P. Thomas in the 150th Anniversary Celebratory Concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church

Epic Convergence of Sublime Music

Under the able baton of Maestro Kent Tritle and organist virtuosi David Briggs, tonight’s concert was an epic convergence of sublime music, a resplendent setting inspiring reverent introspection, and superb musical artistry by the Oratorio Society and featured artists.

David Briggs, Organist. Courtesy david-briggs.org

David Briggs, Organist. Courtesy david-briggs.org




Not surprisingly, the concert was sold out – few music lovers can resist the sonic genius and beauty of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony and the magnificence of Beethoven’s colossal Symphony No. 9. Tucked in the middle of these two musical titans was a marvelous choral work by Karen P. Thomas. As a bonus, the Oratorio Society boasted a fantastic, detailed, informative program book with text and translations.

Breathtaking, Virtuosic, and Inspiring

Organist David Briggs adeptly replaced the usual orchestra accompaniment by mobilizing the vast tonal range and colors of St. Bartholomew’s magnificent Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. His musical interpretations were breathtaking, virtuosic, and inspiring. In the Mahler, Briggs supported the choir and soloists, ensuring listeners experienced the profound narrative of despair, hope, and ultimate redemption portrayed by spectacular ascending leitmotifs guiding a glorious journey towards resurrection. The music transcended its own virtual world, inviting listeners to reflect deeply on life, death, and the possibility of rebirth. Briggs ably expressed introspective passages to the full force of orchestra colors of his magnificent instrument, highlighting moments of reflection and overwhelming elation.

Karen P. Thomas, Composer and Conductor. Courtesy karenpthomas.com

Karen P. Thomas, Composer and Conductor. Courtesy karenpthomas.com

The Starlight’s Shimmering Quality

Thomas’s Le Stelle displayed her legerdemain to express emotional depth, technical sophistication, and the power of the human voice to connect with universal themes. With lush, complex harmonies, Thomas portrayed seemingly incongruent scenes of Virgil ascending from Dante’s Inferno while suddenly peering into the night sky’s vastness and shimmering starlight. Listeners shared a virtual contemplative act of stargazing replete with awe and introspection. Antiphonal effects, where intimate choir sections cut into the majority’s sustained tones, may have expressed how light travels vast distances in space, but many listeners experienced horripilation as they imagined the wails of doomed souls.

Human Unity and Joy

The ensemble and soloists conquered the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Not just a musical masterpiece, the work is a declaration of the potential for human unity and joy found in brotherhood and shared humanity. Its performance was an event transcending the concert hall, touching the hearts of listeners with its message of universal brotherhood and the transcendent power of music.

The Oratorio Society of NY Performs Mahler, Beethoven, and Karen P. Thomas in the 150th Anniversary Celebratory Concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church

Featuring Choral Movements from Mahler: Symphony No. 2 and Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Karen P. Thomas (Call for Scores Winner)Le Stelle


L-R: Susanna Phillips, Soprano. Courtesy susannaphillips.com, Heather Petrie, Contralto. Courtesy heatherpetriecontralto.com, Joshua Blue, Tenor. Courtesy joshuabluetenor.com, Tyler Duncan, Baritone. Courtesy tylerduncan.ca/watch

L-R: Susanna Phillips, Soprano. Courtesy susannaphillips.com, Heather Petrie, Contralto. Courtesy heatherpetriecontralto.com, Joshua Blue, Tenor. Courtesy joshuabluetenor.com, Tyler Duncan, Baritone. Courtesy tylerduncan.ca/watch

Guest Artists

Susanna Phillips soprano
Heather Petrie contralto
Joshua Blue tenor
Tyler Duncan baritone
David Briggs organ

Kent Tritle. Conductor and Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York. Photo by Jennifer Taylor

Kent Tritle. Conductor and Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York. Photo by Jennifer Taylor

New York Chorale Society

Kent Tritle, Music Director
1140 Avenue of the Americas, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10036–5803
212–400–7255



Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Records TchaikovskyPeter and the WolfTranscendent Triumph and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2,  and The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

Oratorio Society of NY Performs Mahler, Beethoven, and Karen P. Thomas

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