Poetry, song mark 100th anniversary of war’s end

The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with a concert of poetry and song on Saturday.

(Left to right) Edmund Connolly, Eugene Lavery, Sarah Nickerson and Maxine Thévenot

Written in 1965, Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” opens the program with a Hebrew text based on the Book of Psalms.

“He wrote it for Chichester Cathedral,” conductor Maxine Thévenot said. “It’s in the county of Sussex, where Prince Harry and Mehgan Markle are.”

Bernstein wrote the piece for harp, organ, percussion and choir. The psalms are of hope and praise.

Penned in 1948, Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem is based on the Mass for Death from the Gregorian chants written in the 1600s.

“Obviously, it’s sung in Latin,” Thévenot said. Shifting between that and Bernstein’s Hebrew “presents a lot of fun challenges for the singers in the choir.”

Mourners played the piece at Duruflé’s funeral.

“He was known to have wept while writing this Requiem Mass,” Thévenot said. “It’s very sensitive, very moving.”

The musicians will include the cathedral choir and choristers, Las Cantantes (the University of New Mexico women’s ensemble), guest organist Eugene Lavery, harpist Lynn Gorman DeVelder, percussionist Scott Ney, mezzo-soprano Sarah Nickerson, baritone Edmund Connolly and cellist Elizabeth Purvis.

The newly appointed Bishop of the Rio Grande, the Rev. Michael Hunn, will introduce the concert.

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