John Rutter REQUIEM
Charles Demuynck It Is What It Is
Ronald Royer Psalm 98: Sing to the Lord a New Song (World Premiere)
Ronald Beckett These Are Thy Glorious Works (World Premiere of Orchestral Version)
Soloists: Sara Schabas, Soprano; Alexander Bowie, Baritone
This concert is one of transition from darkness to light, from mourning to rejoicing, and from reflection to exaltation. John Rutter’s Requiem, written in 1985, is one of the most beautiful setting of these ancient texts in the last 50 years. Rutter’s soaring lines and beautiful harmonies convey comfort in the face of loss, which is something we all experience, and to which we can all relate. “It Is What It Is”, by our Maestro Charles Demuynck acts as a bridge between the reflective Requiem and the joyful final part of our program. The piece illustrates that we struggle as best we can; real suffering is reflected in the second movement. However, daylight and optimism is never far away in this piece. The central message is that difficulties will be and must be overcome, and life is something to be celebrated. For the Easter portion of our concert, we welcome composer Ronald Beckett to our podium to conduct the premiere performance of a new arrangement of his early piece, “These Are Thy Glorious Works”, with words from Paradise Lost by John Milton. The text is a hymn of praise to God, and the majesty of his creation. Maestro Beckett’s music is by turns triumphant and reflective, and the words are always communicated in crystal clear fashion.
To conclude the concert we have the world premiere of a new work by Toronto composer Ronald Royer, which is a setting of Psalm 98, Sing Unto the Lord a New Song. This brief work is filled with exuberance and joy; it has a rapturous energy, and provides the perfect closing work to our concert, a journey from darkness into light.