THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE ANNOUNCES THE SIXTH SEASON OF ITS GREAT MUSIC IN A GREAT SPACE CONCERT SERIES
An Exhilarating 2016–2017 Season of Performances at
the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
New York (July 27, 2016) The Cathedral of St. John the Divine presents its sixth season of Great Music in a Great Space under the direction of Kent Tritle. From the grandeur of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem to the intimate performance of the world-music ensemble Rose of the Compass, this season features a broad spectrum of choral and instrumental music in the Cathedral’s grand and inspiring Gothic interior, located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street).
The season kicks off with a musical visit to Istanbul, with Byzantine chant and Turkish folksong arrangements in an October 25th concert featuring Rose of the Compass with the Cathedral Choir. This follows last year’s release of The Four Quarters of Jerusalem, a new CD recording on the Pro Organo label by those same performers. In November 2016, Great Music in a Great Space honors the Finnish choral tradition with the U.S. debut of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s complete Vigilia. Early 2017 features performances of the Requiems of Maurice Duruflé and Britten, the latter performance being a third monumental collaboration of the Cathedral with the Manhattan School of Music and the Oratorio Society of New York. Throughout the season, the Cathedral’s mighty Æolian-Skinner organ is heard in recital. Many guest artists join the combined choirs and orchestra, including acclaimed soprano Susanna Phillips.
Great Music in a Great Space is comprised of several smaller series: the Great Choir: A Choral Concert Series, the Great Organ: A Recital Series, the Great Organ: It’s Sunday Series, and Holiday Concerts celebrating the Christmas season and New Year’s Eve.
Individual tickets and season subscriptions are available at the Cathedral’s online Box Office. More information on Great Music in a Great Space is available here.
Great Choir: A Choral Concert Series
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
The Glory of Constantinople
The Cathedral Choir and Rose of the Compass
In this sixth collaboration of the Cathedral Choir with the world music ensemble Rose of the Compass, the program explores the glories of Constantinople, now Istanbul. From chants and motets composed upon the transfer of this great city from Christian to Muslim hands in the 15th century, to extraordinary modern-day arrangements of Turkish folksongs, this concert promises to be an uplifting and inspiring look at the cultural heritage of this capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Vigilia (All Night Vigil)
Halley Gilbert, soprano
Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano
Marc Day, tenor
Malcolm Merriweather, baritone
Matt Boehler, bass
The Cathedral Choir
This transcendent and unique setting of the Finnish Orthodox service was premiered at the Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki in 1971, yet it has never been performed in its complete concert version of both Matins and Vespers in the United States. The Cathedral is proud to collaborate with the composer and the Erkko Foundation in presenting the U.S. premiere of this stunning work for a cappella choir and soloists.
In Rautavaara’s own words, the inspiration for this music was a “vision-inducing childhood visit to the island monastery of Valamo in the middle of Lake Ladoga just before the Winter War in 1939.”
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Maurice Duruflé: Requiem & Four Motets
Kirsten Sollek, contralto
Scott Dispensa, baritone
Arthur Fiacco, cello
The Cathedral Choir
Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir
Manhattan School of Music Chamber Orchestra
Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem has obtained a firm place in the choral canon next to that of Gabriel Fauré, which was performed as part of this series in 2013. Duruflé based his work on the ancient Gregorian chants for the Mass of the Dead, clothing them in the subtle and sumptuous harmonies of 20th century Paris. The ethereal textures of organ and orchestra support the consoling voices of the choirs in a transcendent meditation on the life to come.
Thursday, April 6, 2017 & Friday, April 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Benjamin Britten: War Requiem
Susanna Phillips, soprano
John Matthew Myers, tenor
Matthew Worth, baritone
Oratorio Society of New York
Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus
Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir
Manhattan School of Music Symphony
Cathedral Choristers, Bryan Zaros, director
The Cathedral will present the first performance of Britten’s War Requiem in this space since Kurt Masur’s performance with the New York Philharmonic in 1991. Over 350 choral singers, full symphony orchestra, organ and soloists gather to perform Benjamin Britten’s epic musical warning against the horrors of war. The traditional text of the Requiem Mass is interspersed with the poetry of Wilfred Owen, who himself perished in World War I a century ago. The Cathedral marks the centennial of the Great War with this performance.
Great Organ: A Recital Series
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Erik William Suter, the prize-winning former Washington National Cathedral Organist, performs the final concert in his year-long, critically-acclaimed 12-concert series commemorating the life and work of composer Maurice Duruflé. A fierce perfectionist, Duruflé composed slowly and carefully, and produced only a small number of works, each one a masterpiece. In addition to large-scale works like the Suite, op. 5, with its famous Toccata, Duruflé's output includes the exquisite triptych on Veni Creator, and the impassioned Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, written in memory of composer Jehan Alain, killed in action during World War II.
Scherzo, op. 2
Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le Veni Creator, op. 4
Suite, op. 5
Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, op. 7
Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des Heures de la Cathédrale de Soissons, op. 12
Prélude sur l'Introit de l'Épiphanie, op. 13
Méditation, op. posth.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music and Organist, plays a virtuosic concert on the Great Organ, featuring J. S. Bach’s brilliant Toccata in F Major, American laureate Ned Rorem’s unique tribute to Nantucket, and the symphonic majesty of Franck’s largest organ work. From delicacy to grandeur, these pieces will display the Great Organ’s full range of expressive power in Tritle’s authoritative performance.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Toccata and Fugue in F Major, BWV 540
Views from the Oldest House
Grand Pièce Symphonique, op. 17
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Cathedral Associate Organist Raymond Nagem will perform the complete organ sonatas of Felix Mendelssohn in a single concert. Mendelssohn’s sonatas, both colorful and passionate, broke new ground for the organ when published in the 1840s, and have been a cornerstone of the repertoire ever since. This program offers a rare opportunity to hear all six sonatas together, played with drama and power by Dr. Nagem on the Cathedral’s magnificent Æolian-Skinner organ.
Felix Mendelssohn: The Six Organ Sonatas, op. 65
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Cathedral Christmas Concert
Marc Day, tenor
Soloists from the Cathedral Choir TBA
Raymond Nagem, organ
The annual Christmas Concert at St. John the Divine celebrates France. Poulenc’s stunning organ concerto gives the Great Organ a star turn, while his Four Motets evoke the mystery of the Christmas miracle. Charpentier’s charming In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum tells the Christmas story through a Baroque lens, angels and shepherds abiding. The audience joins to sing favorite Christmas carols, and the Cathedral Choristers will adorn the program with seasonal selections by Wilcocks, Britten, Rutter and Fraser, accompanied by harp. This concert is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit!
Francis Poulenc: Organ Concerto & Four Christmas Motets
Marc Antoine Charpentier: In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum
Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace
Jamet Pittman, soprano
Special guests: Judy Collins, Jason Robert Brown & Harry Smith
Founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984, the annual New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace is a signature Cathedral event, gathering old friends and new for more than a quarter of a century. This year’s performance begins with the optimism of Haydn through his “Morning” Symphony and continues with the exuberance of Bach’s Gloria/Et in terra pax, “And on earth peace,” from the monumental Mass in B Minor. The choir will explore inspirational American roots through the settings of three spirituals by African-American composers, as we begin a New Year together, renewed in hope for the world we share.
Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 6 in D major, “Le Matin”
Johann Sebastian Bach (from Mass in B Minor):
Gloria/Et in terra pax
Gratias agimus tibi
Dona nobis pacem
Three Spiritual settings:
Adolphus Hailstork: Motherless Child
William Dawson: Balm in Gilead
Moses Hogan: Walk together, Children
Traditional Spiritual: This little light of mine
About Kent Tritle
Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. Called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world” by the New York Times, Tritle is in his sixth
season as Director of Cathedral Music and organist at New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. He is also Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York and of Musica Sacra. He is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and on the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School. He is organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Tritle holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting. He has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio, as well as in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
About The Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. People from many faiths and communities worship together in services held more than 30 times a week; the soup kitchen serves roughly 25,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Adults and Children in Trust, the renowned preschool, afterschool and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection and remembrance—such is the joyfully busy life of this beloved and venerated Cathedral.