Dear {First Name},

A message from Kent about how he built the unique “Music for a Gothic Space” program:

Please join me for Musica Sacra's "Music for a Gothic Space" concert on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Making live music at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is an astonishing experience. The gothic arches…the medieval choir stalls…the stained glass windows…all these things work together to create a unique and wonderful room for music, especially early music.
For this continuation of our “Music for a Gothic Space” series, I decided to use the ancient form of the mass to serve as our structure. First I focused on the mass movements themselves, finding some of the earliest composed, mostly from the 14th century. Having then discovered that by happy serendipity that October 25 is the Feast of St. Crispin, I focused in on English and French mass movements in a nod to the historic Battle of Agincourt. Adding the Gregorian chant propers, we may experience both the chant and the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, and Agnus Dei in their historic formal positions. The Gregorian chant in its ethereal austerity provides for us a rather pure perspective from which to hear the more elaborate mass movements, almost as if they were new music (which they were at one time!). In a way, this aural experience should be similar to attending a wine tasting, being sure to have a (Gregorian chant) cracker in between varieties of wine so as to cleanse the palate!

All this would be a sumptuous meal in itself. But wait, there’s more! What about the remaining content of this historic structure? The scripture readings and the recitation of the communion rite, for example? In staying with this vision of hearing music anew via juxtaposition, I was excited to have discovered some wonderful NEW music by living, breathing women composers! Their choral works serve to fulfill the structure of this ancient form in much the way the reciting of the Latin text might have.

That’s the backstory of this particular programming process, and thanks for taking a moment to join me in it! I hope you enjoy this concert. May it be perhaps a serene ‘time out’ for you, as this music rises to the gothic arches of St. John the Divine!
Tuesday, October 25, 7:30 PM
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave., New York
Kent Tritle, conductor

Gregorian chant and contemporaneous polyphony from 14th century England and France will fill the world’s largest gothic cathedral, interspersed with contemporary voices including living composers Janet Wheeler, Amy Summers, Olivia Sparkhall, and Sarah MacDonald. | full program details
Tickets $35-$75 | Students $20
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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, he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the Grammy-nominated volunteer chorus; and Music Director of Musica Sacra, New York’s elite professional chorus.

Kent is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. Also an acclaimed organ virtuoso, Kent Tritle is the organist of the New York Philharmonic.

Photo: Jennifer Taylor