The Chancel Choir of Bethlehem Lutheran Church has taken on a new challenge.
Directed by Jim Jefferis, who also teaches at Fairport High School, they will present “Gloria” by Michael John Trotta complete with brass, organ and percussion. Organist will be Susan DePasquale; other instrumentalists will be professional brass musicians and brass and percussion musicians from Fairport High School.
Guests may hear this new choral work at the 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. worships May 19 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, located on Perrin Street at the corner of Church Street in Fairport Village.
Commissioned by a consortium of 10 choirs for simultaneous nationwide premieres during the 2018-19 season, Michael John Trotta’s “Gloria” is a 14-minute work. The three-movement setting uses tapestry of sonorous harmonies that are triumphant, reflective and energetic to encompass both the history and the relevance of one of the oldest texts in the Christian tradition. The text dates back to the fourth century and is sung daily in Christian liturgies worldwide.
“Gloria” opens with a brass fanfare that sets the stage. The contrasting middle section on the text “et in terra pax” (and on earth peace) foreshadows the sweetness of the second movement before returning to the original theme.
“Domine Deus” — second movement — provides repose and refreshment from the other movements. A legato contrapuntal theme is introduced, recalling the “et in terra pax” theme from the first movement. The second theme is delivered by a soloist on the text “qui tollis,” (who takes away) to which the choir plaintively responds, “miserere mei” (have mercy on us). The final statement of the theme sets the stage for the ending.
“Quoniam Tu Solis” — third movement — is introduced with brass fanfare over an organ accompaniment, providing an introduction for the choir who sings the brass motive on the text “quoniam tu solus sanctus” (for you alone are holy). After this opening, double fugue, based on the theme from the first movement, is introduced on the text, “cum sancto” (with the spirit). Each choral exposition builds in intensity, punctuated by developments in the brass. The work ends in a rhythmic declaration of the first theme, this time with choir, brass, organ and percussion culminating in a conclusion.
Prior to his work as a full-time composer, Michael John Trotta’s experience as an educator at the elementary, middle school, high school and university levels — as well as a church music director — combined with his degrees in music education and a doctorate in choral conducting, have grounded his style in tradition, which blends with his modern sensibilities.