Kodály’s virtuoso Missa Brevis, aptly subtitled Tempore belli (“In time of war”), was completed in the cellar of a Benedictine convent in Nazi-occupied Budapest and premiered in a cloakroom of the Opera House during the grim Soviet siege of the city. Despite its dark genesis, the Mass shimmers with mystical life and concludes in hope and grandeur.
Brahms’s celebrated motet Warum ist das Licht gegeben employs beautiful counterpoint and harmony as it moves from the biblical Job’s dark despair to the light of acceptance and hope.
Three exciting works by living composers are represented: Jonathan Dove’s luminous recasting of a 400-year-old text expressing a “radiant, ecstatic moment of wonder;” Morten Lauridsen’s gorgeous hymn to the “light born of light;” and young Japanese composer Ko Matsushita’s rhythmic, glittering setting of a fourth-century hymn of praise.
Featuring George Sargeant, Associate Organist at Old South Church.