Set I “Music, remembering, solace…” 

Music, Spread Thy Voice Around (From Solomon) George Frederick Handel (1748) 

In the Bleak MidWinter Poem by Christina Rossetti (1872) Melody by Philip Stopford (2010) 

Afternoon on a Hill Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1917) Composed by Eric William Barnum (2007) 

Refuge Poem by Teasdale (1917) Composed by Elaine Hagenberg (2016) 

Set II  “Vision and hope…” 

Ubi Caritas, op. 10 (Four Motets on Gregorian Themes)  Maurice Drufle (1960) 

Cantique de Jean Racine, op. 11 Gabriel Faure (1865) 

The Last Words of David Randall Thompson (1949) 

You Shall Have a Song (Final movement from Peacable Kingdom) Randall Thompson (1936)


Set III “Winter and love…” 

My Sweetheart’s like Venus (Welsh Folksong) Gustave Holst (1930)

Sing We and Chant It (First Booke of Balletts to Five Voyces) Thomas Morley (1595) 

I am Not Yours Poem by Sara Teasdale (1915) Composed by Randal Stroope (2017) 

Yesterday By John Lennon and Paul McCartney (1965) Arr. for Choir by Mark Brymer (2009) 

Set IV  “Praise to all music which soars to inspire…” (Silvestri) 

Across the Vast Eternal Sky Poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri (2010) Composed by Ola Gjeilo (2011) 

Luminous Night of the Soul Poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri (2011) Composed by Ola Gjeilo (2011)

Concert Notes

We have music to enjoy because of a variety of impetuses. For example, Gabriel Faure was 20 years old in 1865 and a student, when he composed the exquisite Cantique de Jean Racine, to a French paraphrase of an old Latin Hymn from the breviary of matins by 17th century dramatist Jean Racine to submit to a prestigious Parisian music competition. Faure preferred the French to the original Latin, and crafted the work initially for choir and organ, and Faure won 1st prize. Later Faure enlarged the work by adding strings, and then in 1906 it was performed with orchestra, though sadly the orchestra parts were never published. This beautiful “Song of Jean Racine”, exemplifying dignity, classical restraint, and elegant melody – the very characteristics of Faure’s later famous Requiem, has been performed in countless churches and concert halls ever since and has become a choral favorite worldwide. The soothing Baroque chorus Music, Spread Thy Voice Around was conceived by Handel as special masque music in “Part the Third” of his grand oratorio Solomon, to please the Queen of Sheba as she enters Solomon’s court. Handel’s ability to capture the power of music is legendary, and this peaceful, lulling chorus to sooth one’s senses, bring beauty and calm, continues to accomplish just that upon every rehearing. I selected this little masterpiece extolling the embrace of music around us as a portal to the unfolding “many moods of music’ you will hear tonight. In 1936 Randall Thompson composed a monument in the lexicon of great choral works with his multi-movement Peaceable Kingdom, an epic work in eight movements for a cappella choir to prophecies of Isaiah. Tonight we perform only the final movement “Ye Shall Have a Song” to continue the theme of Handel’s vision of music “spreading its voice around” as the music dances back and forth ultimately filling the hall. Upon hearing this impressive music in 1936, Douglas Moore, himself a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and chair of the Music Department at Columbia University, wrote “I want to go on record in writing as believing that you have written the best modern choral work I have heard.” I too was moved upon learning and performing this powerful work as a singer in a college choir. Listen how Thompsom took the following verse (Isaiah 30:29) and crafted a powerful display of antiphonal singing between unaccompanied men’s and women’s choirs within the choir, capturing the joy and power of music: “Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept. And gladness of heart, as when one goes with a pipe to come to the mountain of the Lord.” The concert finishes with two stunning relatively new works by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, now residing in USA, and who is becoming one of the luminaries of new choral art. We are pleased to bring these two pieces to life again for our audience friends, compositions I can only describe as “breathtaking”. Gjeilo asked poet Charles Anthony Silvestri to provide the texts (other major choral composers such as Eric Whitacre have also turned to Silvestri for depictive poetry to set for choirs). Please read the lyrics to both Across the Vast Eternal Sky, and Luminous Night of the Soul to prepare yourself for this incredible music for voices, piano and string quartet, given to the world by Ola Gjeilo. Oh the power, and many moods of music!