This June, The Esoterics will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a program of modern motets, in keeping with the theme of this year: saecula sacrorum, or “secular versions of sacred forms.” This program will explore the motet, not only as the most virtuosic and architectural form of ancient choral music, but also for the “play on words” so common in its construction.
This program will feature two “choral cathedrals” composed by Eric Banks: Etternalmente vive [Eternally alive] and Förklaring [Elucidation], setting poems in Italian and Swedish by Michelangelo Buonarroti and Karin Boye. It will also include two new cycles by the Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi: Hommage à Edith (setting three verses by the Finland-Swedish poet Edith Södergran), and Seven last words, a hilarious rendering of the last seven entries in the Century Dictionary (1910), sung as if in a spelling bee, with intermittent limericks.
The ensemble is also excited to perform the world premiere of the choral version of Lisa Bielawa’s Machina mundi, a work for digitally processed voices and live chorus that traces various philosophical texts that grapple with the origin of the universe. The group is also honored to perform the world premiere of Joshua Fishbein’s Of the ages, a triptych on the various stages of life, setting texts of Elizabeth Pennell, Laurence Alma-Tadema, and William Butler Yeats. Both Lisa and Josh will be joining us for our anniversary concert weekend!
Finally, The Esoterics will reprise one of its favorite works, Richard Strauss’ inimitable Deutsche Motette. One of the most virtuosic, cathartic, and joyful pieces in the choral repertory, Strauss’ pyrotechnic setting of Friedrich Rückert’s poem was written on a dare from the Vienna Opera Chorus in 1913. It is so rarely performed, and truly not to be missed!
Tickets may be purchased online or at the door.