Tenebrae choir in a vaulted stone hallway

November 15, 2019 | 7:30PM
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Subscribe to the season exclusive Tenebrae / Tenebrous concert pairing, or curate your own series with a Pick 4 or 6 subscription package.

Owain Park: Footsteps
Joby Talbot: Path of Miracles

6:30 PM talk with Joby Talbot and Nigel Short

In the Christian tradition, the Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness”) service takes place in the three days preceding Easter and is characterized by the gradual extinguishing of candles to the sounds of meditative, reflective vocal music. The London-based chamber choir of the same name, celebrated for its “purity and precision of tone, and flawless intonation” (The Times), recreates the atmosphere of the traditional service by performing powerful choral masterworks by candlelight.

At the center of this program is British composer Joby Talbot’s stunning cantata Path of Miracles, commissioned by Tenebrae in 2005. Borrowing from a broad, multicultural array of musical traditions and sung in Greek, Latin, Spanish, Basque, French, English, and German, Path of Miracles chronicles the grueling journey along the Camino de Santiago, an ancient Christian pilgrimage route through northern Spain. The musical narrative unfolds across four movements, each named for one of the signposts along the route: Roncesvalles, whose overlapping tonalities suggest the pealing of bells; Burgos, a cry for strength and persistent faith in the form of a chorale; León, which suggests Gregorian chant and the promise of reprieve; and Santiago, in which jubilance and reverence comingle in the wake of completing the punishing journey. To complete the program, the Hyde Park Chicago Children’s Choir joins Tenebrae to perform Owain Park’s Footsteps, commissioned by Tenebrae as a companion work to Path of Miracles.

Tenebrae performs as the first artist of the 2019/20-season exclusive Tenebrae/Tenebrous concert pairing, which explores the perceptual of experience of heightened listening induced by dim-to-dark environments.

Presented in partnership with Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.