Sunday, April 21, 2013


The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra together perform LUX AETERNA by Morten Lauridsen

It really was a most amazing weekend. To have the opportunity to sing each night in rehearsal the extraordinary music of Bach (Magnificat) and Lauridsen (Lux Aeterna), joined by our fantastic cast of soloists and great friends from the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Well, that in itself would be an overabundance of musical riches!

But to have composer Morten Lauridsen with us for the week of rehearsals and our final performance...that took it all to a completely different place.

On Wednesday, Lauridsen spent hours at Butler, hearing the talented singers from the Chorale perform his daring Madrigali. Sitting with our composition faculty and students, sharing stories from his life as a composer. Encouraging our choral conducting students. Later, working with the fine singers at Northminster Presbyterian Church.

On Thursday, spending two hours in my Choral Literature class, musing on the writing of such works as Dirait-on, O Magnum Mysterium, the Lux. Even sitting at the piano and playing snippets for us. Then a workshop at Second Presbyterian, before coming to our final dress rehearsal of Lux Aeterna. His generous compliments to us following our run-through propelled us all to both higher musical achievement and deeper understanding.

The concert, on Friday, when he spoke to the audience of the inspiration behind the Lux...the loss of his own mother, the solace and tranquility offered to him at his idyllic home on Waldron Island. The stunned silence of the audience upon the work's conclusion, followed by the tumultuous applause to acknowledge the composer.

All our performances stay with me for a bit after the lights go out and the tuxedo is sent to the cleaners. But this one lingers longer...nudging my consciousness with its wistful, hopeful voice. Pretty cool.

With composer Morten Lauridsen following our performance

Friday, April 12, 2013

In the Presence of Masters

What a week it's been.

Each night, rehearsing with chorus, orchestra and soloists.

Each night, going home with the timeless sounds of two master composers ringing in my ears.

Bach's exuberant Magnificat...a feast of triumphant solos for flutes, oboes, strings, and a crown of three (!) trumpets, whose concert high-E links the mortal with the heavenly.

Lauridsen's gentle Lux Aeterna, written at the time of his own mother's passing. A contemplation of light, its beams lead us to joy.

We've been fortunate to have Morten Lauridsen with us for final rehearsals, masterclasses and seminars. When he sits at the piano to play an excerpt from his works, it's like getting a peek of Van Gogh at work. And you are there.

Across the centuries and in person, music offers its restorative presence to those brave and hearty enough to plumb its depths. We look forward to sharing the joy, light and hope with you at the performance tonight.

Composer Masterclass with Morten Lauridsen, Butler University Graduate Conducting Student Trevor Fanning (far right) and Director of Choral Activities Henry Leck