Review by Edward Kliszus
Seating at the Cathedral is full, and the audience is hushed. We expect divine inspiration from music that has endured for millennia and is as relevant today as when it was first composed.
The program began with a pre-concert recital by the Newark Boys Chorus, the troupe handsomely adorned in vertically striped vests, dark slacks and red bowties. Charming, enthusiastic, and delightful, they performed a variety of selections conducted by Donald C. Morris. The choristers sang dynamically, facilitating free, open, expressive, evocative singing with crisp diction, clearly defined parts with vibrant harmonies, and the occasional percussive accompaniment. Seeing and hearing these delightful young people perform at such an auspicious musical occasion is wonderful.
From the rear of the cathedral Musica Sacra choristers gently began, entering the performance space with the Gregorian Chant Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, setting perfectly the environment for eliciting joy, solemnity, and pious meditation. We rejoice with the Angels!
Maestro Kent Tritle guided his singers, striving toward the ultimate visio beatifica with the Introit for the Feast of All Saints, immersing participants in sacred sounds in the heavenly realm of liturgical worship and musical exegesis in the Cathedral’s superb ethereal setting, celebrating this festival in honor of all the Saints. “Let us all rejoice in the Lord…at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. (Ps. 32:1) Rejoice in the Lord, ye just; praise becometh the upright. Glory be to the Father.”
The Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy) Gloria (Glory be to God), Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy), Benedictus (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord), Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), Beati mundo corde (Blessed are the pure in heart), Ite Missa est (Go, you are dismissed) from Guillaume de Machaut’s 14th century polyphonic masterpiece Messe de Nostre Dame weave throughout the program, providing spiritual grounding and thematic continuity. The final Ite Missa est was breathtaking.
Reverence, faith, celebration, deliberation, mystery, grandeur, humility, and absolution – Maestro Tritle has once again brought these to us through superb monadic and polyphonic music that we must hear and experience through his masterful inspired programming, leadership, and brilliance. We expected and received an evening of superb a capella deliverance by his world-class 12-member Music Sacra Chorus. Crisp diction, masterful melismatic passages, effective dynamic utilization and expression, superb blend, and a composite of Gregorian Chants and works by Guilliame de Machaut and Josquin des Prez, transported us to the 14th and 15th century musical and spiritual artistic paradigms of the Ars Nova and High Renaissance periods.
Maestro Tritle and his Musica Sacra are stalwarts in the promulgation and life of critical ecclesiastical musical arts, alive and well in New York City. Do not miss future opportunities to experience the Maestro’s important work.
Runtime is 90 minutes.
Music Sacra’s next event is the intimate Fall Salon on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 6:30 pm. See and hear the renowned Bedford String Quartet perform their favorite selections by Haydn, Schubert, Puccini, and Tchaikovsky. Enjoy wine & refreshments at the beautiful residence of Maurice Mandel and Ina Selden in midtown Manhattan. For tickets go to tiny.cc/u0wwez, click this link, or call 212-330-7684. Tickets are $250 and seating is limited.
Music Sacra presents the magnificent Handel’s Messiah on December 23, 7:30 pm at Carnegie Hall in the Stern Auditorium. Tickets $20-$100, $15 Student & Senior tickets (Parquet Y-CC & Balcony) for Messiah available at the box office window 7 days before the performance. For this concert and upcoming musical events, click here, go to https://musicasacrany.com/, or call 212-330-7684 for details.
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Organ and Orchestra by The American Symphony, The American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 by the Park Avenue Chamber Orchestra.