Author name: Marty Sauser

Season Album 2023-2024

A Rose in Winter
December 9 & 10, 2023
(Original painting by Kent Singer, Ann Quackenbos)
The Peace of Wild Things
March 10, 2024
Vivaldi, Handel & Zelenka
June 2, 2024

We opened our 51th season in December 2023 with A Rose in Winter, a gentle and beautiful program of music expressing joy, hope and peace. The Spring concert, The Peace of Wild Things, on March 10, 2024 featured Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Randall Thompson’s Frostiana (organ and piano played brilliantly by our accompanist, Sandra Kleisner), and two pieces by the young American composer, Jake Runestad: The Hope of Loving and The Peace of Wild Things.

The audience for our Summer Great Works Concert on June 2, 2024 was treated to three delightful pieces from the Baroque period: Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, and Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Magnificat in D Major.

Pre-concert warmup for Rose in Winter
Knox addressing the Rose in Winter audience
St. Andrew’s Church, Kent CT
Rehearsing with soloists and orchestra
Rose in Winter organist Sarah Johnson
Sandra Kleisner at the organ for Rejoice in the Lamb, assisted by former Kent Singer Martha Holcombe
One of our faithful volunteers, Exiene Lofgren
Schlicker organ at St. Andrew’s
The Peace of Wild Things performance
Harpsichordist Christine Gevert tuning her instrument before the June concert
Kent Singer tenors in rehearsal

Thank you for a successful 2023-24 season!

St. John's Episcopal Church, New Milford, CT
St. John’s Episcopal Church, New Milford, CT
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Kent, CT
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kent, CT

Thanks to all our singers, volunteers, donors, advertisers, and especially our faithful audience for a successful conclusion to our 2023-24 season! Click here for photos and music from our three concerts this year: A Rose in Winter, The Peace of Wild Things, and Vivaldi, Handel & Zelenka.

Also a special thank you to St. Andrew’s Church in Kent and St. John’s Church in New Milford, and to our wonderful director, Knox Sutterfield, and rehearsal accompanist, Sandra Kleisner!

Looking forward to seeing you again next year! Have a great summer!

Summer Concert Recording 2024

Click here to see the concert program

Click here to listen to the entire live concert

(As always, we’re making these recordings available to you, our members, for your private enjoyment only. Please don’t copy them to any streaming services or publish them in any way.)

Vivaldi, Handel, Zelenka – June 2, 2024

Click here to listen to the entire concert

Click here to access music files for downloading

Practice Playlist for Summer Concert 2024

Here are Knox’s official playlists for our Summer concert:

One nice thing about the YouTube recording of the Zelenka is that it has the score with it—including the orchestral and solo parts—which might be especially helpful as we get closer to the concert.

Here are slowed-down versions of two sections from the Zelenka:

Also, here is a quick lesson on how to perform the trills in the Handel Coronation Anthems:

Summer Great Works Concert 2024

Our annual Summer Great Works Concert for this year will feature three pieces from the Baroque era: Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, and Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Magnificat in D Major.

  • Sunday, June 2, 2024
  • St. John’s Church in New Milford, CT at 3:00 PM

Tickets now on sale here: Tickets

The Peace of Wild Things – March 10, 2024

Click here to listen to the entire concert

Click here to access music files for downloading

The Peace of Wild Things Concert Recording 2024

Click here to see the concert program

Click here to listen to the entire live concert

(As always, we’re making these recordings available to you, our members, for your private enjoyment only. Please don’t copy them to any streaming services or publish them in any way.)

Poetry was set to music at our Spring concert 2024

Our Spring 2024 concert featured Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Randall Thompson’s Frostiana, and two pieces by the young American composer, Jake Runestad: The Hope of Loving and The Peace of Wild Things.

The March 10, 2024 performance featured four soloists and a string quartet.

Jake Runestad: The Hope of Loving (Yield to Love; Wild Forces)

Performed March 10, 2024; James Knox Sutterfield, conductor.

Yield to Love, inspired by the writings of Rabi’a al-Basri

I know about love the way the fields know about light,
the way the forest shelters us.
We are vulnerable like an infant.
We need each other’s care or we will suffer.
How will you ever find peace unless you yield to love?

Wild Forces, St. Francis of Assisi

There are beautiful, wild forces within us.
Let them turn millstones inside
filling bushels that reach to the sky.

The Hope of Loving is a multi-movement work commissioned by Seraphic Fire and their Artistic Director, Patrick Quigley. Composer Jake Runestad writes of this piece:

I am a hoarder of poetry, and one of my favorite collections is Love Poems From God—mystical poems by Daniel Ladinsky inspired by famous writers from around the world. This book is a composer’s dream with colorful, powerful, and succinct writings that talk of living fully, deep spirituality, self-contemplation and love. When starting my work on this new composition, I opened Ladinsky’s book to find a treasure trove of quaint parables and sage advice for us all. The Hope of Loving (2015) for chorus, soloists, and string quartet, uses a selection of writings inspired by spiritual mystics throughout history to explore the idea of love and its manifestation in our lives. My hope is that this music might introduce you to meaningful texts, connect you with an element of your own human experience, and foster your compassion for the story of another.

— Jake Runestad

While some pieces are built around a melodic motif, The Hope of Loving is built around a single interval, a perfect fourth. This interval is most obvious when it occurs melodically, immediately identifiable in the opening phrase, which recurs throughout the piece; however, Runestad also employs it harmonically, building chords that are quartal (built of stacked fourths) rather than triadic (built of stacked thirds) as tonal western music traditionally is. Quartal harmony often does not sound excessively dissonant, but it is distinctive and tends to feel unresolved.

The first movement, “Yield to Love,” sets a poem inspired by the work of Rabi’a al-Basri. Enslaved as a child, she gained freedom later in life and became one of the most influential Sufi mystics and a Muslim saint. As mythology accumulated around her, many writings and poems were attributed to her, though their origin is disputed, and contemporary scholars believe there are no extant writings that are legitimately hers. Nevertheless, her legacy and the works attributed to her have had a lasting impact, including on perhaps the most famous Persian poet, Rumi. The music is spare, mostly unison lines with chant-like rhythms, and the movement serves as a sort of introduction or epigraph for the work as a whole both musically and textually.

“Wild Forces” is distinct from the other movements with its driving rhythms and boisterous energy. The text, by St. Francis of Assisi, exhorts us to embrace and harness the “beautiful, wild forces within us” to produce an abundance of nurturing sustenance so bountiful that it reaches even to heaven. (Other sources translate the second half as “Let them turn the mills inside and fill sacks that feed even heaven.”) The driving rhythms, canons, and triple meter create a sense of circular energy to depict the millstones, and high, bright chords seem to “reach to the sky.”

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