The Cathedral Choral Society continues its 2017.18 season with
Solitude and Joy on Sunday, March 4, 4:00 pm at Washington National Cathedral.
Guest conductor Donald Nally leads the chorus, joined by cellist Thomas Mesa and
organist Scott Dettra.
The program features a diverse selection of contemporary and 20 th century music,
including two new commissions for choir: Ēriks Ešenvalds’ 85 and Alex Berko’s
Lincoln. Latvian Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers working
today. His compositions have been premiered by the Boston Symphony, The King’s
Singers, Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, and more. Alex Berko is an American
composer currently attending Indiana University. His music has been performed by
members of The Crossing Choir, Del Sol String Quartet, and the Cape Cod Symphony.
His piece, Lincoln, uses the text from the dedication plaque that accompanies the statue
of Abraham Lincoln in Washington National Cathedral.
Completing the program: Gabriel Jackson’s Creator of the Stars of Night; Sebastian
Currier’s Sanctus from Night Mass; Herbert Howells’ Behold, O God Our Defender; I
Would Be True; and O Pray; John Tavener’s Svyati; James MacMillan’s A New Song;
Pēteris Vasks’ Grãmata čellam (for solo cello); Arvo Pärt’s Salve Regina; and Maurice
Duruflé’s Notre Père.
The arc of the program is inspired by a piece of lyrical prose written by French writer
Pascal Quignard from his 2002 book The Roving Shadows: “Without solitude, without
the test of time, without the passion for silence, without the excitation and retention of
the whole body, without a frightened stumbling, without wandering into a region of shade
and invisibility, without memory of animality, without melancholy, without isolation in
melancholy, there is no joy.”