If the term “contemporary music” makes you reach for your nearest Mozart CD, we’re here to shed some light on the topic. Our next concert is the third in our U.S. Venture Masterwork series which features a collaboration between newVoices and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. The series presents orchestral/choral works to the community and this year we will feature choral works that will become the masterworks of the future.
The program is entitled LUX: Light (Lux is the Latin word for light). The music explores the theme of light through text and orchestration and was programmed by newVoices Artistic Director Dr. Phillip Swan. “The melodies are so beautiful and all have a lyrical melodic line—not what we typically associate with contemporary music,” Swan said. “All of the selections evoke joy, a positive perspective, and the interaction between the human and the divine.”
Each of the composers featured in the concert is considered a “rock star” of current choral music. They have deviated from the trend of atonal, jarring contemporary music and returned to singable melodies and harmonious orchestration. All of the compositions are new and have been premiered within the last five years.
“It’s important that we share the works of new, young composers,” Swan said. “If we’re going to sustain choral music for future generations, we need to support young artists.”
In selecting the new works, Swan paid special attention to the texts–all of which speak of divine light, the light of the sun waking the world each morning, the light of love, and the light of social change.
“We need more positive perspective in the world now, and the topic of this concert is timely and uplifting,” Swan said.
The program features the works of five composers with tunes ranging from gentle melodies to massive anthems.
The title piece of the program is “LUX: The Dawn From on High” by Americancomposer Dan Forrest. It is classical in nature and, like an oratorio, it tells a story in several movements. The texts range from liturgical chant to modern secular love poetry and the music ranges from delicate melodies to joyful, jazz-influenced themes.
The chorus and orchestra will perform “Into the Light” by American composer, Jake Runestad. The piece features expansive orchestration and fresh harmonies set to the words of history’s greatest reformers: Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Frederick Douglass, and others. You can listen to the work at this link.
Will Todd is a British composer and his work “Bring Light” features the majestic Lawrence Chapel organ and orchestra. “This is a massive piece,” Swan said. “You’ll hear this piece and will want to get out of your seat and cheer at the end!” You can listen to the work at this link.
One of the selections is a debut of sorts. Only the Boston Symphony has performed Eriks Esenvalds’ piece “Lakes Awake at Dawn.” The opening of the piece is restless and turbulent, and soars into resounding glissandos from the strings resolving in a gentle prayer for the dawn.
One selection on the program will be done without instrumental accompanimet, “O Lux Beata Trinitas” by Latvian composer Andrej Makor. This beautiful selection is more classical in nature with a Latin text, and you can sample it at this link.
Tickets to this concert are on sale and available online at this link.