Bruckner and Bernstein

Date and Venue TBD

  • Bruckner, Mass No. 2 in E Minor
  • Bernstein, The Best of All Possible Worlds and Make Our Garden Grow (from Candide)
  • Mamiano, Papuri
  • Bonds, St Francis’ Prayer

Bruckner’s Mass in E minor, 1882, is scored for chorus and wind ensemble without soloists or strings.  The Kyrie, marked “feierlich” (solemnly), begins with ten measures of a capella counterpoint by the women voice sections, which set the stage for the audience to go on an extraordinary voyage through richly harmonic music paying homage along the way to Gregorian chant and Palestrina and the Italian Renaissance through to Wagner whose work he had just discovered. 

Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, 1956, is based on Voltaire’s 1856 novella. The original libretto by Lillian Hellman, was felt to be too political and heavy-handed and was revised multiple times by such luminaries as Richard Wilbur, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim and Bernstein himself.  “The Best of All Possible Worlds” presents Bernstein’s deep appreciation of Voltaire’s ironic disdain for “cock-eyed optimism.”  “Make Our Garden Grow,” absent the ironic context of the rest of the operetta, is a glorious, soaring and moving testament to community collaboration.  Yet, in the show, it is immediately followed and undercut by: “Ah, pox!”

Margaret Bonds, 1913-1972, was an African-American composer well-known for her many collaborations with Langston Hughes and settings of spirituals.  This setting of the Prayer for St. Francis of Assisi was composed in 1968 for the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. 

Ily Matthew Maniano is a leading choral composer and conductor in the Philippines as well as a well-known counter-tenor soloist. He describes Papuri as “a challenging and exciting piece that shows the different phases of praise.”