Songs of Celebration Comes to Cincinnati
Songs of Celebration, a three-movement work that commemorates the Easter and Pentecost seasons, will have its Cincinnati premiere on Sunday, April 23, at 3 PM, in a choral concert sponsored by the Kenwood Music Series at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, in Cincinnati.
(7701 Kenwood Road). The program will also present a performance of Psalm 42, by Felix Mendelssohn, along with other works. Featured performers on the program include Elizabeth Seal and Amy Johnson, sopranos, the Chancel Choir, and a chamber orchestra of local musicians. The concert will be under the direction of Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music.
The Cincinnati performance of Songs of Celebration has been expanded to feature a chamber orchestra of winds and strings in addition to organ. The April 23rd concert will be a premiere for this new version.
Songs of Celebration was commissioned by R. Steven Houser and the congregation of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It received its premiere on June 1, 1986, featuring the piece’s original instrumentation: soprano, choir, string quintet and organ. The three-movement work presents three sacred texts by the American poet Elizabeth Randall-Mills, who was a member of the congregation.
The first two movements reflect the themes of the Easter season. Movement one, Resurrection Day, presents the soprano and choir in alternation to capture the joy of Easter morning. In contrast, The Paschal Presence is a more intimate reflection; the choir is replaced with a solo viola, whose melodic material is based on the ancient Easter hymn, Victimae Paschali Laudes. The final movement, Song to the Holy Spirit, is a celebration of the Pentecost season, using the format of a hymn-anthem as well as variation techniques to present the text.
Listen to Movement 3, Song to the Holy Spirit in the Choral section of the Recordings page.
The concert is free and open to the public. For more information on this work, please consult the article under the Ruminations page on this website.