No sooner did I put away the extra programs for Carl Crosier’s funeral mass that I am now embroiled in preparation for another program — for Early Music Hawaii’s concert, Triumph Against the Odds, which will be next Friday, September 19th at 7:30 pm, at St. Theresa’s Co-Cathedral. The concert will be dedicated to the memory of Carl Crosier, Sept. 11, 1945 –August 28, 2014.
It’s probably the first time that one could say that “a funeral was publicity for a concert!” in that there will be an all-women’s ensemble singing chant, just as there was at Carl’s Requiem Mass on September 6th. In fact, many of the same women will be singing in the concert! But in addition to chant, there will be much, much more.
The concert, Triumph Against the Odds: Early Women Composers of the Convent and Beyond, was Carl’s brainchild. He went to a similar program at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in 2010, and was eager to share the music with Honolulu audiences.
According to the program, Carl “as Artistic Director of EMH for three seasons, wished to present one of his favorite repertories in the magnificent ambience for which it was originally intended. He chose the composers and the individual works with great care and love, and engaged the leading women performers of our community to give it life. He requested that we present it, as designed and on schedule, even if he could not be present in person. He is with us in spirit and we bring his inspiration to you in celebration of a life devoted to music, in this case the early sacred music dear to his heart and soul.”
The program will include the music of all women composers: Kassia (b. 810-c.860), Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704), Francesca Caccia (1587-1640), Maria Xaveria Perucona (1652-?), Barbara Strozzi (1619-1664), Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729), and Chiara Margarite Cozzolani (1602-c.1678).
Singers include guest conductor, Jennifer Lane, Georgine Stark, Mihoko Ito, Naomi Castro and Emily Haswell, sopranos, and Jennifer Lane and Diane Koshi, altos. Instrumentalists include Maile Reeves and Judy Barrett, violins; Karen Fujimoto, cello; Esha Neogy, viola da gamba, Connie Uejio, harp, and yours truly on organ.
Now, as to why one of the beneficiaries of Carl’s memorial gifts was Early Music Hawaii: Carl Crosier joined Early Music Hawaii as Artistic Director at the beginning of 2012. In this short time, he made it possible to launch a full annual season with major local productions added to the fine visiting ensembles, such as Mirable and El Mundo, presented since 2010. Carl masterminded and directed Glorious Gabrieli in 2012 on the 4th centenary of the great Venetian composer’s death, and Oratorio, the rise of the 17th century Roman oratorio, in 2013. In a 2010 collaboration between the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and EMH, Carl produced and twice directed the magnificent première in Hawaii of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, uniting the talents of local musicians and early music specialists from the mainland and, in the process, mentoring the members of the EMH Choir and Orchestra, formed to present music of the Baroque and earlier in authentic style. The inspiration for and preparation of Triumph Against the Odds, is entirely his, a celebration of a repertoire dear to his heart.
And thanks to all of you, the memorial gifts and outpouring of support in memory of Carl Crosier has been an expression of an extraordinary affirmation of his stature in the spiritual and musical community of Hawaii. I would like to thank the many, many friends and admirers who responded to his wish that St. Theresa’s Co-Cathedral, Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and Early Music Hawaii be recipients of your generosity, which has resulted in a windfall for each of the institutions. Please be patient with me as I write personal thank you notes to each of you who gave so generously.
I like to think that Carl’s gift of music will keep on giving.