Soli Deo Gloria to Celebrate 20th Anniversary Season in New York, 5/4-5
The esteemed classical sacred music foundation Soli Deo Gloria-"to God alone be the Glory"-named for the Latin inscription frequently used by Johann Sebastian Bach on his manuscripts, has chosen to celebrate its 20th anniversary in early May in New York City with major performances of two significant commissions.
On Sunday afternoon, May 4, 2014, 2:30 p.m., award-winning Scottish composer James MacMillan's "Since it was the day of Preparation," co-commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria, will be performed by the St. Bartholomew's Chamber Singers and an intimate instrumental ensemble consisting of clarinet, horn, harp, theorbo, and cello under the baton of William K. Trafka at St. Bartholomew's Church, Park Avenue at 51st Street. Based on English passages from the Book of John and material from ancient Latin hymns, "Since it was the day of Preparation" is an hour-long, program-length work named for a passage in the Resurrection story. Artists will include bass-baritone Jeff Morrissey, principal soloist, who will sing the role of Jesus, as well as Choir soloists Amanda Sidebottom, soprano; Eliza Bagg, alto; Christopher Carter, tenor; and Jason Whitfield, baritone. This United States premiere follows the 2012 world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival which was reviewed by Scotland's The Herald: "The music ranges in mood from austere to warm and tender, from the purity of intensity to relaxed expansiveness." The Times of London characterized the work as "wonderfully rich in its musical tapestry."
The next day, Monday, May 5, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., launching the popular "Spring for Music" Festival, Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium, in the New York premiere of Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Christopher Rouse's "Requiem," commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria. Joining the Philharmonic will be baritone Jacques Imbrailo; the Westminster Symphonic Chorus, Joe Miller, conductor; and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dianne Berkun-Menaker, Artistic Director. The commission for Rouse's "Requiem" was born of the close friendship between the composer and Soli Deo Gloria's Founding Artistic Director, Grammy Award-winning conductor John Nelson. Rouse had been composer-in-residence for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during the time Nelson was its music director. They shared a deep admiration for French composer Hector Berlioz. The "Requiem" was originally intended to be performed in 2003 in honor of the 200th anniversary of Berlioz's birth. Circumstances changed the timing of the premiere and the 90-minute work was first heard in 2007 performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The Los Angeles Times called it "an extraordinary score," and "the first great traditional American Requiem."
Tickets for the May 4th performance of James MacMillan's "Since it was the day of Preparation" are $25 and $15 for students & seniors and are available by calling 212 378 0222 or visiting www.mmpaf.org. Tickets for Christopher Rouse's "Requiem" are $25 & $12.50 and are available by calling 212-247-7800 or by visiting www.carnegiehall.org.
In search of works to continue the great choral tradition of such masterpieces as Bach's "St. Matthew Passion," Handel's "Messiah," and Brahms's "Requiem," Soli Deo Gloria was created in 1993 for the purpose of preserving, enhancing and promoting classical sacred music throughout the world. In referring to the founders of Soli Deo Gloria, Joseph A. LoSchiavo, President and CEO, remarked "As musically astute people of deep faith, they lamented the 20th century's lack of sponsorship for substantial sacred commissions; who in today's world could possibly fill a role once played by the Church and the royal houses of Europe?" Soli Deo Gloria's central activity has been the commissioning of new compositions of classical sacred music; to date it has commissioned 35 works written by composers from all over the world.