On stage at Carnegie Hall was Maestro Kent Tritle with superb soloists, orchestra, and the Oratorio Society of New York with Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem. From the Magnificat’s opening notes, the ensemble transported listeners into the intricate structures of Bach’s musical universe, a world of harmonies, expressive power, and profound pieties.
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Tonight’s special program, Musica Sacra Presents SurRound, was set in the magnificent Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City. The audience was treated to a mélange of a capella music from organum of the Middle Ages to the complexity and richness of the Renaissance and seminal works of contemporary times. In addition, we were treated to a world premiere of Daniel Ficarri’s Blessed Are the Pure in Heart, which shall undoubtedly join the canon of vital choral literature.
Léonin (d. 1201) was not just a medieval composer. He was a forward-thinking pioneer whose legacy lives on today. Thanks to his contributions, polyphonic music became a reality, featuring more than one voice part. Leonin started this revolution during the late 12th century and has been widely recognized as the first composer to create music in this unique style.
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.