My dear friend and longtime chamber music partner, celllist Caroline C. treated me to tickets to the 20th Anniversary of Morten Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna” at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, June 18. 2017.
Caroline and I have been fans of Morten Lauridsen for almost a decade. This was a performance not to be missed!
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of knowing who this remarkable composer is, I’m pleased to share a brief intro. Morten Lauridsen is an award winning composer, performer and educator of choral works that touch the heart and soul. I like musicologist and conductor Nick Strimple‘s quote: “(Morten Lauridsen is) the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic, (whose) probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered.”
The first I had heard of this composer was while driving home from work several years ago. It really was a dark and stormy night. The radio happened to be tuned to KUSC. The pounding rain was stressing me out when all of a sudden the most beautiful deep voices caught my ear. Soon the radiant “Sure on this Shining Night” filled the space with sounds that moved me to tears. I actually pulled the car over to wait until the piece had ended. Grabbing paper and pen out of the glove compartment, I noted down the piece. Upon arriving home, I promptly purchased from iTunes the performance by the Grammy® award winning choral ensemble Conspirare. After listening to the piece multiple times, I began researching and purchasing his other works including the Lux Aeterna.
I’m grateful to the serendipity that brought this beautiful mystical music to my attention so I could in turn, share it with others who delight in spiritual music.
Fast forward to June 18, 2017, our Uber ride dropped us off in time to enjoy a delicious dinner at the Concert Hall Café.
We finished in time to catch the pre-show interview with the maestro where he recounted his tale back in the 1970s of hoisting an upright piano into his van and onto a ferry to Waldron Island where he composed his Lux Aeterna at the abandoned dilapidated Crum’s Castle with nothing more than a sleeping bag and some tools.
At the sound of the chimes, we herded into the auditorium and took our seats. The first half of the concert were performances of works by other composers. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say, it paled in comparison to what was to come. When the Los Angeles Master Chorale barely began the opening phrase to Lux Aeterna, the hair on my arms and neck stood up. Caroline and I looked at each other with excitement. We were sharing this moment of beautiful music together. I can still recall their voices singing this uplifting joyful piece.
I highly recommend you give it a listen. When you are done, stop and take a breath. You are now a different person.
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