Video produced by John Cosmas
Of Time and Space
An evening of celestial music. Travel with us to a galaxy not so far, far away.
On December 21, 1968, NASA launched Apollo 8 into space, where it became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravity, orbit the moon, and return safely to Earth. Astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders thus became the first humans to witness and photograph an Earthrise. They also made a historic Christmas Eve television broadcast, which at the time was the most watched program ever. Some of us remember the absolute thrill of that moment, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.
On February 12th, under the direction of Dr. Kenney Potter, the Charlotte Master Chorale brings that experience to life with a program that will transport you into the galaxy. Join us as the Charlotte Master Chorale and Chamber Singers share the stage with the Arts Plus Charlotte Children’s Choir in a concert that celebrates human curiosity and our fascination with outer space.
The centerpiece of the concert is Kile Smith’s “The Consolation of Apollo,” which uses as libretto actual dialogue between Apollo 8 astronauts as they broadcast to listeners on Earth. The text, in which they read the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis, includes the prosaic chatter between the crew and Houston as they position the craft for what are now the iconic photos of Earth. Smith intersperses the transcript of their communications with selections from The Consolation of Philosophy by the Boethius (480–524), which became one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages. In his Consolation, Boethius considers good and evil, our place in creation and on fortune’s wheel, and, at times, Apollo, the mythical charioteer of the sun. The effect is an ethereal experience that evokes the wonder of this other-worldly vantage point.
Rapidly gaining national and international acclaim, Kile Smith’s music is hailed by critics, performers, and audiences for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” Gramophone hails its “sparkling beauty”, and The Philadelphia Inquirercalls the “immediately identifiable personality” of his music “breathtaking.” Smith is composer in residence for the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.
Enjoy the Silence
“Enjoy the Silence” is Grammy®-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre’s arrangement of the 1990 Depeche Mode hit, written by Martin Gore. Close your eyes and lose yourself in the cosmos.
Eric Whitacre’s concert music has been performed throughout the world, while his groundbreaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from over 120 different countries. Whitacre is currently artist in residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, having completed a five-year term as composer in residence at the University of Cambridge.
There Will Be Rest
“There Will be Rest” by composer Frank Ticheli is ana cappella setting of a poem by American lyric poet, Sara Teasdale. Teasdales’s poem begins “There will be rest, and sure stars shining” and evokes the awe of a wintry and serene night sky in which “above me…Stars I shall find.”
Frank Ticheli is a composer of orchestral, choral, chamber, and concert band works and is currently professor of composition at the University of Southern California.
“Stars” by Ēriks Ešenvalds is a setting of another one of Teasdale’s poems, and it captures the glowing simplicity of “a heaven full of stars’ with ‘beating hearts of fire’ seen overhead on a still, dark night.
Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent. The award-winning composer is currently composition teacher at the Latvian Academy of Music.
The Charlotte Master Chorale is pleased to feature as guest artists, the heavenly voices of the Arts Plus Charlotte Children’s Choir, directed by Dr. Heather Potter. We invite you into a virtual choral planetarium as we celebrate an anniversary of our ongoing fascination with the universe and our place in it.