Such a beautiful day surely called for a walk outside to take some photos and see the sights.
I hope your Monday has been pleasant and did not, as ours did, include a trip to the mall.
Since the dawn of the species, humans have been using their voices to explore their experiences in song. But it's the prayers that seem to last. When words addressed to a higher power have been set to memorable melodies or inspiring harmonies, they've become some of the most enduring music ever created.
To open its season, the Twin Cities-based chamber choir known as the Singers is presenting three of the western classical music tradition's most popular and powerful prayers. At Wayzata's St. Bartholomew Catholic Church on Saturday night, conductor Matthew Culloton and the Singers suffused each work with not only the spirit of salve and solace written into each by its composer, but also a sense of striving to touch the infinite. And one should feel fortunate to experience as strong a sense of the sacred as the Singers offered in Maurice Durufle's "Requiem."
While that work has received fine recent interpretations from such elite tandems as the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Chorale, as well as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and its Chorale, there was something more intimate and involving about Saturday's performance by the Singers, their accompanying chamber orchestra and organist Aaron David Miller.
Maybe the feeling of being immersed in emotion was partially attributable to the resonant interior of St. Bart's. But, more likely, it was the musicians' obvious investment in the interpretation, particularly the Singers, who treated every chord with care, eachharmony with balance and beauty. It was a transporting performance.
But that's not to say that there wasn't much to admire in the two works that preceded it. Seventeenth-century composer Gregorio Allegri's "Miserere" was a masterful slice of the Vatican choral tradition given great voice by the group, at its most thrilling when a quartet held forth from the rear of the sanctuary, Diane Koschak's soaring soprano floating ethereally above all.
And J.S. Bach's "Jesu, meine Freude" was full of contrast in mood and dynamics, a tempestuous chorale about fear and death giving way to the lovely layers of a spirited fugue and a lush lullaby of farewell to the cares of the world. As with all of Saturday's program, the Singers made it an exciting experience.
Who: The Singers with conductor Matthew Culloton and organist Aaron David Miller
What: Works by Gregorio Allegri, J.S. Bach and Maurice Durufle
When: 3 p.m. today
Where: House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Ave., St. Paul
Tickets: $30-$10, available at 651-917-1948 or singersmca.org
Capsule: A heavenly mix of music.
I love to sing.
If you know me in person, you know this to be true. In any case, I sing all the time, if I can, and I am singing this year in two wonderful groups.
Caritas Vocal Ensemble and The Singers. For Caritas the concerts season begins in the early spring, but The Singers will sing a concert on Oct 9th in collaboration with some other local choral groups.
Among other pieces, we're singing a choral work based on the words and contemporary music of the 4 Mount Rushmore presidents.
As I am rehearsing the music I keep getting choked up at the power of these words.
I don't know if you knew this, but the Gettysburg Address is pretty amazing.
Part of the Teddy Roosevelt text is taken from a speech he gave at the Grand Canyon and it is one of the finer things I have read recently as well -
I included the full text here -
In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country - to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.
I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon.
Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.
We have gotten past the stage, my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children's children will get the benefit of it.
Now I don't know if it's the hormones, or just the fact that I haven't ever had to engage so closely with the words of these great men, but I have been a little bit of a mess every time I sit down to practice.
If you are in the area please come and see the show, it's going to be amazing, but bring your hanky.