Trinity Mass
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Highly original vocal-Orchestral work with echoes of Copland and Bernstein.

Here is an important 20th century American choral work in a premiere performance. James Yannatos was born and educated in New York City. He attended the High School of Music and Art and the Manhattan School of Music. He then studied with Nadia Boulanger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud and Paul Hindemith. He studied conducting with William Steinberg and Leonard Bernstein. While composition is the dominant theme of his career, he has consistently resisted the tendency towards specialization, believing it necessary for a composer to explore and participate in music as broadly as possible. He has earned his living first as a violinist, then as a teacher and conductor. He has been the Music Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra since 1964. Trinity Mass uses the requiem mass as a musical and inspirational framework. The libretto blends prose and verse from 33 sources and several languages. Poems, children's words, public speeches, words of Hiroshima survivors, and scientists' accounts of the first atomic test explosion are combined with passages from the Bible and the mass text. The libretto was written in the spring of 1983, and the music was completed and Orchestrated in March 1984. The work was premiered in April 1986 with a pair of performances at Harvard and in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The title of the work is derived from the first atomic bomb test in the New Mexico desert, which J. Robert Oppenheimer code named "Trinity" after reading John Donne's sonnet: "batter my heart, three-personed God; for you as yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend."
James Yannatos, composer
Trinity Mass
Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and Collegium Musicum, Bach Back Bay Chorale, Radcliffe Choral Society, Harvard Glee Club, Youth Pro Musica, Lucy Shelton, soprano, Milagro Vargas, mezzo, Jon Humphrey, tenor, Sanford Sylvan, baritone, Robert Honeysucker, bass

"Trinity Mass is possibly a masterpiece worthy to stand comparison with such other 20th-century milestones as Britten's War Requiem, Tippet's A Child of Our Time and The Mask Of Time, Penderecki's St. Luke's Passion, or Nono's Prometeo. Yannatos has cast his net over an incredibly wide range of both music and literature and managed to fuse the results into a unified whole. That in and of itself is remarkable; but beyond that there is a wonderfully personal tone to it all that amplifies both the emotional immediacy and the sense that important things are being said directly and simply, regardless of the enormous forces and the complexity of the apparatus.This is exactly the sort of new American music that should be showing up in our major musical centers." (Fanfare)
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