Let Me Fly! – Saturday, April 6, 2019, 8:00 PM


  • SERGEI RACHMANINOFF All-Night Vigil (selections, in English, including the famous Bogoroditse Devo)
  • WILLIAM DAWSON Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit
  • WILLIAM DAWSON There Is a Balm in Gilead
  • WILLIAM DAWSON Ezekiel Saw de Wheel
  • K. LEE SCOTT In Bright Mansions Above
  • MOSES HOGAN. Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel

Two great choral traditions — Spirituals and Russian sacred music — come together and intertwine, creating a fusion of yin and yang for music of the soul. Representing the best of Russian sacred music, the magnificent All-Night Vigil by Sergei Rachmaninoff (often referred to as the Vespers) was written at the height of his musical powers. It represents all that Rachmaninoff was—a son of Russia and a world-class musician of the world. Russian sacred music is, among other things, music of beauty, that beauty which, according to Dostoyevsky, “will redeem the world.” Through a long-standing tradition, going back two millennia, it draws its aesthetic values and expressive means from a heavenly, rather than earthly reality.

In contrast to this, Spirituals are primarily music of rhythm, music of the earth. They express the rhythm of the heart and tie into the rhythm of the body—how we are made and what makes us feel alive. After decades of being arranged as “parlour Spirituals”, today’s arrangers, such as Moses Hogan, André Thomas, Rollo Dilworth, and others, are dedicated to revitalizing the true African-American spirit of the genre and grounding it in its authenticity and depth.

It is this authenticity of both traditions, of being true to their roots as music of the soul that brings them together as powerful partners in this concert.