Cathedral Choral Society Present ‘Sonic Bloom: Music of Bruckner, Esmail and Gabrieli’

By Afton Wooten

The GRAMMY-nominated Cathedral Choral Society with Music Director Steven Fox will present “Sonic Bloom: Music of Anton Bruckner, Reena Esmail, and Andrea Gabrieli” on March 10 at Washington National Cathedral.

This concert explores the “sonic bloom—the interplay among monumental architecture, magnificent distances, and majestic music.” On the program are three motets by Bruckner as well as a rare performance of the composer’s “Mass” No. 2 in E Minor, Gabrieli’s “Magnificat á” 12 and “O magnum mysterium á” 8, and Esmail’s “Exaltations,” a set of three works for double choir and brass quintet.

In the program notes, Esmail says, “Each movement draws on a single word or phrase – Gloria in excelsis deo,’ ‘Alleluia,’ and ‘Hosanna in excelsis.’ I wanted to continue the thread of Latin text on this program. As one who grew up Roman Catholic, these words instantly connect me to a deep and rich spiritual tradition. These Exaltations are meant to be joyous and contemplative in praise of God. They also connect to the Hindustani musical tradition, as each movement is in a different raag (melodic framework): Bageshri, Pratiksha, and Megh, respectively. Just as music for choir and brass grew out of the Roman Catholic tradition, Indian classical raga grew out of the Hindu religious practice. This music interweaves the richness of both.”

“Sonic Bloom” takes place both in-person and through livestream.