It was a pleasure and privilege to attend tonight’s concert, marking the 50th year of collaboration between the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a tribute to award-winning composer, Morten Lauridsen.
I first heard the emotionally intense music of Morten Lauridsen by chance, driving home late from work back in 2010. His piece, “Sure On This Shining Night” happened to be played on KUSC. After a few minutes, tears were streaming down my face, I was so moved. I raced home and luckily found and purchased the mp3 on iTunes. After trying to pick out the melody by ear on the piano, I was hooked and ordered the piece for piano, soprano, alto, tenor and bass from Old Town Music, Pasadena. Going one step further, I arranged for singers to perform it with me at Pastimes for a Lifetime’s June 2010 student piano concert. It was memorable.
My good friend and musical collaborator, cellist Caroline Coward shares my passion for Morten Lauridsen’s music. When she learned of this concert last year, she purchased my ticket as a birthday present. One of the best presents, ever!
We arrived in time for the the ListenUp! pre-concert lecture featuring Morten Lauridsen, Music Director Grant Gerson and KUSC’s Alan Chapman. Lauridsen spoke of his love of poetry and how he reads a poem each day for inspiration. The pieces performed tonight by the Los Angeles Master Chorale were the following poems Lauridsen deftly crafted into musical tone poems:
Mid-Winter Songs – on Poems by Robert Graves
Ave Dulcissima Maria – an arrangement of Ave Maria
Canticle/O Vos Omnes – hymn from biblical text
Nocturnes – on Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda and James Agee
Madrigali: Six “Fire Songs” – on Italian Renaissance Poems
Les Chansons des Roses – on poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
O Magnum Mysterium – hymn from biblical text
Enjoy listening to these selections from my personal collection, which were among my favorites from tonight’s performance:
Nocturnes – “Sure On This Shining Night”, Conspirare & Craig Hella Johnson
Les Chansons des Roses – “Dirait on”, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Morten Lauridsen & Paul Salamunovich
“O Magnum Mysterium”, Robert Shaw & Robert Shaw Chamber Singers
To learn more about this remarkable composer and educator and his music, visit his website, http://mortenlauridsen.net/
Linda Wehrli is the founder/instructor at Pastimes for a Lifetime Piano School and an avid fan of The Los Angeles Master Chorale and the transcendent music of Morten Lauridsen. To learn more, visit the school’s website and Facebook fan page. Sign up for free posts on local musical events and student concerts.