New Music for Chorus A Cappella

Daniel Brewbaker, Robert Convery, Michael Gilbertson, Aaron Jay Kernis, Elliot Z Levine, Zachary Patten, Behzad Ranjbaran, Christopher Theofanidis, Christina Whitten Thomas

KENT TRITLE, conductor

Eileen Clark, soprano
Lianne Coble, soprano
Silvie Jensen, mezzo soprano
Amy Justman, soprano
Drew Martin, tenor
John Tiranno, tenor


Includes World Premiere Recordings


REVIEWS“…this is a superbly sung [disc] … the sound is clean and has good presence.”
Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare [November/December 2013]
“I enjoyed this CD a great deal and recommend it to lovers of choral music.”
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [November/December 2013]
“This is a fascinating survey of a cappella music written by living composers over the past 25 years. We have reason to expect more before long, as this is the first of a series. In his introductory booklet comments, choirmaster-organist Kent Tritle describes the composers performed here as “near and dear to me”—his friends, colleagues, schoolmates from Juilliard, and one of them even a former student of his. I must laud his musical judgement, as there’s not a single work in this mixed sacred-secular program that lacks a high level of musical craftsmanship, imaginative treatment of texts, or strong listener appeal… This is a sweetly sonorous and technically refined chamber ensemble of just under 30 voices, and Tritle has surely drawn some of New York’s finest vocalists to its ranks. MSR gives them their full due, with both a useful booklet and first-rate sound.”
Koob, American Record Guide [May/June 2013]
iTunes / Apple Music

When Musica Sacra performed each of these works in concert in May 2011, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to produce our first recording in more than 20 years. Most of the composers on this recording are people I have known well—for as little as two years, or as long as 25! With a few exceptions, these people are intertwined with my own life in various ways; and I have admired the work and “voice” of each for quite some time. I have had the privilege of performing works by Behzad Ranjbaran (my colleague at Juilliard) and Robert Convery (we attended Juilliard together) in previous concerts. Zachary Patten and I have a shared mentor, Lyn Schenbeck, who introduced him to me. Elliot Levine, an established vocalist and composer, has been a friend and colleague for many years, and I have used his works a number of times in liturgical situations. Like Levine, Aaron Jay Kernis is
another composer whose works I have wanted to explore; commissioned by my friend Philip Brunelle and his Plymouth Music Series in Minneapolis, Effortlessly, Love Flows has been in my “must perform” box for too long! Christopher Theofanidis caught my eye when he sent me Messages to Myself, and ever since receiving it I have looked for an opportunity to perform it! I was awestruck upon hearing Christina Whitten Thomas’ Choral de Bêtes performed by my colleague Dennis Keene and his Voices of Ascension, and am indebted to the Sorel Foundation for making Musica Sacra’s performance of that work possible. I blush to say that Michael Gilbertson, perhaps the youngest composer on this recording, was a student in my choral conducting class at Juilliard. He has already been picked up by a major publisher, and is now a graduate student at Yale. I am very proud of him and his work, and delighted that Musica Sacra could commission a work by him. Daniel Brewbaker
has been a dear soul in my circle, he also being a presence in my life since we were students at Juilliard together, and yet I have never had an opportunity until our concert in May 2011 to perform his work. I would especially like to thank Mary B. Davidson for making the premieres by Michael and Daniel possible. So these composers are near and dear to me, as people and as artists. I’ve selected this lineup with several principles in mind. In some cases, contrast; in others, flow of similarity. In all cases, I have considered text to be of prime importance. Welcome to this recording of
beautiful, thoughtful, elegant, thought-provoking, and soul-touching music. [Kent Tritle, July 2012]

One of America’s leading choral conductors, KENT TRITLE was appointed music director of Musica
Sacra in February 2008, succeeding founder Richard Westenburg, who designated Tritle as his successor. He is also Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, as well as Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York. In addition, Kent is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. He is the host of the weekly radio program The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle on WQXR in New York, which explores the choral music genre and the breadth of activity in the choral community. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, Tritle is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic. He founded the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, an acclaimed concert series now entering its 23rd season. From 1996 to 2004 he has served as Music Director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs, winners of the ASCAP/Chorus America award for adventurous programming of contemporary music. Tritle has an extensive recording catalog, with more than a dozen CD releases on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic and VAI labels. His most recent CDs with the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola on MSR Classics have earned high praise. [ ]

Since its founding in 1964 by conductor Richard Westenburg, the mission of MUSICA SACRA has been to create definitive, professional choral performances of the highest caliber for a wide audience. It supports its mission by presenting concerts; recording, commissioning, and performing new choral works; and educating audiences, students and the general public in the appreciation and history of choral music. In addition to an affinity for Baroque music, Musica Sacra performs in other genres as well, from the earliest Gregorian chant to new works by such leading contemporary composers as Benjamin Britten, Dave Brubeck, Alessandro Cadario, Robert Convery, David Diamond, Aram Khachaturian and Ned Rorem. Past highlights include performances of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers; Mozart’s Mass in C minor; J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion; Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel and Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater for WNYC Radio’s New Sounds Live at the World Financial Center; and Edgard Varèse’s Étude pour Espace, with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Sō Percussion at the 2010 Lincoln Center Festival. Musica Sacra has recorded on the RCA-BMG and Deutsche Grammophon labels, including the first digitally recorded performance of Messiah, released in 1982 by RCA and reissued on High Performance, BMG’s audiophile label. []
Weep You No More
Burst Forth, My Tears
[Commissioned and World Premiere Performance given by Music Sacra]
Come, Heavy Sleep
[Commissioned and World Premiere Performance given by Music Sacra]

[New York Premiere Performance given by Musica Sacra]

CHORAL DE BÊTES (2004/2006)
Prière du Lion
Prière de l’Agneau
Prière de la Baleine
Prière de la Gazelle

[Commissioned and World Premiere Performance given by Music Sacra]
if there are any heavens
my father moved through the dooms of love

WE ARE ONE (2008)
[New York Premiere Performance given by Musica Sacra]

[New York Premiere Performance given by Musica Sacra]

THE LAMB (1988)



MSR Classics