Sunday, May 17, 2015

LA Master Chorale: Whitacre and Pärt … but so much more

By Douglas Neslund

Dear Grant,

Their voices become light, And the light sings …” is a perfect textual parody for the concert you offered us over the last two nights. But light needs a focus, and you are the focus, the prism, for that light to become music beyond mere notes on paper.

Thank you for the illuminating music of Eric Whitacre and Arvo Pärt, in their own unique way composers of completely different origins who understand the human voice and the shimmering magic of Nature’s overtone patterns so often unheard and constricted by tuning of equal temperament or covered by instrumental accompaniment, but clearly heard in an a cappella performance.

“And the angels in the glass, Softly sang …”

You keep telling us that you are “the luckiest” person to be able to stand in front of such a consortium of singing musicians, but one suspects they would not be quite so bright, quite so musical, without the prism that is you, focusing their voices and radiating their light.

“Light filled the chamber …”

Thank you for the 14 years of music, old and new, familiar and unheard, harmonic and otherwise, that you and the Master Chorale have offered. Obviously, the fact that the public now has two opportunities to hear each of the items on the schedule is testament to the choral excellence you have developed over that time. We have enjoyed watching you grow as a musician, too. Baroque, for example, was an uncertain link in your baton, but now is a mastered art form.

“She heard her voice Echo, …”

Thank you for being a good friend to so many. You must also take stock of your own needs, and guard your health! We all tend to take good health for granted, but flying long hours to conduct just one performance, then flying long hours again back … your resume doesn’t need enhancement. We need for that magic that is your focus to continue far into the future: whole, healthy and as youthfully adventurous as always.

“Holy, Holy, Holy. …”

Have a blessed and thrilling summer festival season, Grant, and come back in the Fall recharged and renewed, once again to bless those who are the lucky ones, the ones who get to hear the shimmering overtones and sometimes lusty roar of beauty that is the Los Angeles Master Chorale.


A personal note, if I may … this is my last regular LA Opus review, as a move out of state is in the offing. Editor Rod Punt has graciously invited occasional reviews from the new location, and I have gratefully accepted his kind offer.

No comments: