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This was an evening of Venice City of Lights at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Superlatives hardly describe the quality of the Cathedral Choir in the Rose of the Compass space. The evening offered a transformative musical experience for listeners and performers alike. The beauty and artistry utilized to guide our journey through the historical, artistic and cultural milieu of Venice evoked elation, wonder, and exhilaration. Onlooking participants experienced profound tranquility and introspection, reflection and contemplation, transcendent joy and longing.
Kent Tritle and Musica Sacra have once again brought important musical works to the forefront in an opulent setting with superb artists. Tritle’s conducting was expressive and precise, while the Chorus performed with an aplomb to which audiences have become accustomed. Listeners experienced glorious sweeps of sound, delicate shadings, impeccable clarity and vocal precision, superb blend, unerring expression, apposite dynamic range, ineffable artistry, and inspired interpretation. It was an awe-inspiring and memorable musical experience.
This was a celebration and reminder of Kent Tritle, a gifted musical artist of epic importance to the world of performing arts in New York and beyond. Tritle’s ubiquitous, multi-dimensional contributions emanate from his work as a virtuoso solo organist, organist of the New York Philharmonic, choral conductor, and director of both Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York.
Maestro Kent Tritle opened this “Light of Paradise” program with the strings of his world-class orchestra performing George Walker’s Lyric for Strings (1946). This work set the tone for the contemplative, elegiac, spiritual, and pathos-rich musical experience about to unfold. This music performed in the magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Divine created rich, transcendent sound reverberations of grandeur and timelessness. The orchestra’s offering of the beautiful, memorable Lyric for Strings was an exquisite sonic experience of poignant and profound emotional character.
Maestro Kent Tritle and Musica Sacra delivered an elegant, nonpareil performance expressing the radiant afflatus of Handel’s artistic and spiritual masterpiece Messiah. The exquisite sound of the orchestra with period bows performed by orchestral virtuosos and Tritle‘s attention to purity and detail ensured the finest manifestations of Handel’s choral intentions. The ensemble delightfully conveyed the confidence and security of Handel’s musical counterpoint to elaborate the vital significance of the text, melody, harmonic structures, and the composer’s notable departures from antiquarian pedantry into the dash, freedom, and spontaneity of musical evolution.