by Daniel Hathaway
On November 22, a far happier occasion to remember than the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of JFK was the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten — and far more appropriate to St. Cecilia’s Day, the patron saint of musicians. A smattering of area tributes to the greatest British composer since Henry Purcell have been planned during 2013, but Trinity Cathedral under Todd Wilson has clearly taken the lead with celebrations of Britten’s music fueling two Brownbag concerts and a gala concert last Friday evening featuring three of his most celebrated vocal and choral works.
Wilson’s choral forces — Trinity Chamber Singers and the Trinity Cathedral Choir — sang the Hymn to St. Cecilia and the festival cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb, respectively, and countertenor John McElliott and tenor JR Fralick teamed with Wilson in the second of Britten’s Five Canticles, Abraham and Isaac.
The key to Britten’s renown as a vocal composer is his choice of excellent texts to set and his dead-on intuition about how to fit music to words. [Read more…]