A U.S. Premiere for Rautavaara's Vigilia

"Perhaps his deepest choral masterpiece"  ~The Guardian 
"A late-20th-century setting of the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil worthy of comparison with Rachmaninov's great setting"  ~Gramophone

Einojuhani Rautavaara with Kent in Helsinki - January 2016 (photo by Leland Hoch)
In January of this year, Kent conducted a residency at Helsinki's Sibelius Academy, teaching choral conducting and organ performance.  While there, he met with Einojuhani Rautavaara, the leading Finnish composer of his generation, and a prolific composer of choral music.

"It was wonderful to meet Einojuhani, who knew Sibelius personally, and is part of that great Finnish lineage," said Tritle, who learned that when the composer was in New York for his studies at Juilliard, he lived across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

They talked about presenting Rautavaara's Vigilia (All-Night Vigil In Memory of John the Baptist), a 1971-72 work (revised in 1996) commissioned by the Helsinki Festival and the Orthodox Church of Finland, at the Cathedral - and ensuing discussions revealed that while the Vespers (Evening) portion of the work had been performed in the U.S., the Matins (Morning) portion had not.

And so the November 15, 2016, performance by Kent leading the Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine and soloists Halley Gilbert, soprano; Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano; Marc Day, tenor; Malcolm Merriweather, baritone; and Matt Boehler, bass, will be the U.S. premiere of the work in its entirety. Special support for this event comes from the Erkko Foundation.

Einojuhani Rautavaara passed away on July 27. The performance, for which the composer's widow, Sinikka Rautavaara, will come to New York to coach the Finnish text, will be dedicated to the composer's memory.

Gramophone magazine, in its review of the 1998 recording of the work by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir on the Ondine label, praised "Rautavaara's delicious blend of ancient and modern modes," saying, " Vigilia somehow manages to excavate a spiritual path beyond the confines of denominational dogma. ...It is a refreshingly open-hearted piece, one that - whether sombre or celebratory, traditional or innovative - grants ritual narrative a vibrant voice."

And, coming up...
  • Don't forget the season opening concert of Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall on November 3: Mozart's "Great" Mass in C Minor and Bruckner's Te Deum.
  • November 9-12, Kent's Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Choir join the New York Philharmonic in four performances of Ravel's Daphnis et ChloĆ© led by Vladimir Jurowski - on a program also featuring pianist Daniil Trifonov.
  • And on December 7, Musica Sacra will host a Gala Celebration of Kent Tritle's Tenth Anniversary featuring members of the ensemble singing seasonal music of Victoria, Biebl, and Lauridsen, to take place at a patron's beautiful Manhattan home. Click here for details!
Visit  www.kenttritle.com 
Kent on Facebook: www.facebook.com/kenttritle 
Kent on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kenttritle 
Join Kent Tritle's  e-newsletter list

Coming up...

Thursday, November 3, 2016, 8 PM
Carnegie Hall
Kent Tritle, conductor
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano
Helen Karloski, mezzo-soprano
Alex Richardson, tenor
Philip Cutlip, baritone

MOZART  "Great" Mass in C Minor

November 9, 10, 11, 12, 2016
David Geffen Hall
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Choir,
Kent Tritle, director

MOZART  Piano Concerto No. 25
RAVEL  Daphnis et Chloe

Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 7:30 PM

Great Music in a Great Space at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Kent Tritle, conductor
Halley Gilbert, soprano
Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano
Marc Day, tenor
Malcolm Merriweather, baritone
Matt Boehler, bass

RAUTAVAARA  Vigilia (All Night Vigil In Memory of John the Baptist) - U.S. Premiere


Wednesday, December 7, 2016
6 PM:  Cocktails
7:15 PM:  Performance


Gala Celebration of Kent Tritle's Tenth Anniversary

Featuring members of the Musica Sacra Chorus singing seasonal music of Victoria, Biebl, and Lauridsen

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 acclaimed 200-voice volunteer chorus; and Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City. In addition, Kent is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic.
For more information, visit www.kenttritle.com

Photos: Jennifer Taylor