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Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s Passport takes you to St. Peter in Chains Cathedral on November 17

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 Passport to musical adventure takes audiences across the globe. On November 17, the KSO teams up with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir for the North American premiere of Pawel Lukeszewski’s Via Crucis.

“Bringing new, serious and expressive music to the U.S. and Tristate, and performing such works in an appropriate venue with first-rate performers became the catalyst
 for this program,” said KSO music director James Cassidy.

“Having worked with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir and director Anthony DiCello in 2016 on the premiere of Kim Arnesen’s Magnificat, everyone who performed and attended the program found the performance to be both moving and memorable. We hope to generate a similar musical/spiritual aura with this Fall’s collaboration, though the text, music, and style of Lukeszewski’s work are completely different.”

The program opens with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral.”

Commenting on the 12-minute orchestral work from 2000, Higdon describes the cathedral as a space for spiritual contemplation, growth, and expression — “a symbolic doorway into
and out of this world.” The orchestral work requires musicians to play crystal glasses, tuned by the amount of water in each, and Chinese reflex bells creating ethereal sounds of time and distance.

Paweł Łukesewski is Poland’s most prolific and well-known living composer, specializing in anti-modern choral and instrumental writing. His 50- minute Via Crucis (2000) is written for 8-part chorus, orchestra, countertenor (Evangelist), tenor (Pilate, Simon), baritone (Jesus), narrator and organ.

The work, sung in Latin, is a powerful, yet hauntingly beautiful musical
depiction of the 14 Stations of the Cross. (Łukeszewski includes the
 Resurrection as a 15th Station.) Jarring, heavy hammer-like blows (1-14) announce the arrival at each Station. (The opening is somewhat reminiscent of the opening of Orff’s Carmina Burana). The visceral scene gives way each time to a serene, uplifting calm of a 5-part women’s choir singing “Adoramus Te, Sanctissme Domine Jesu Christe.”

As the procession to each station continues along the “Way of Sorrows,“ the frescos of the Stations adorning the walls of the Nave of the Cathedral will be illuminated, and also be viewed on monitors in the front of the church so the audience can virtually walk the Stations as the work proceeds.

Join The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir for a sonic/spiritual procession of the Via Dolorosa at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 17, at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati.

Reserved seating tickets are $19, $27, $35 (children ages 6-18 are 50% off) and are
available online at kyso.org, by phone—(859) 431-6216, or at the door.

The Choir of Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral under the direction of Anthony DiCello provides musical leadership at the 11:00 Sunday Mass (mid-September through mid-June), Christmas and Holy Week and at special archdiocesan events. The choir, comprised of 18-24 professional singers, provides a wide range of liturgical choral music of all periods of the church’s tradition from Gregorian chant through the 21st century. The choir also sings an annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols on the first Sunday of Advent and the Tenebrae service the Wednesday evening of Holy Week. Membership in the cathedral choir is open to trained singers through audition.

Anthony DiCello is the Archdiocesan Music Director of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is also the Director of Music at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Great Music in a Great Space Concert Series.

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