I’m still basking in the afterglow of last night’s Musica Poetica concert for Early Music Hawaii and over and over again, people came up to me and said, “I felt Carl Crosier was here.” It was not just the repertoire — it was the high standard of music-making that guest conductor Dana Marsh brought the singers and instrumentalists to — as Carl would have done. And we had a large and appreciative audience to boot!
In fact, at the dress rehearsal Friday night, I half expected Carl to walk in through the door and sit down to listen to us. The program opened with Stephen Escher, cornettist, playing an ornamented version of “Ein feste Burg,” the familiar Lutheran hymn, from upstairs in the gallery. As he played the repeat of the opening line, the choir quietly processed from the back and took their places on the two outer sides of the altar platform. This was followed immediately by a duet on the same tune sung by Padraic Costello and Karol Nowicki front and center. Next I played a setting by Caspar Othmayr on the continuo organ which was placed in the center of the platform, with tenor Jeremy Wong singing the “Ein feste Burg” chorale from the middle of the nave. Finally the choir and instruments joined in singing the same Othmayr setting, with the strings and choir I on one side of the platform and sackbuts, cornetto and choir II on the other side. What a grand, dramatic opening — and something similar to what Carl would have done as the “architect” of so many grand musical productions.
As I mentioned before, for most of the concert I was sitting at the Beckerath continuo organ smack dab in the middle of the altar platform, and contrary to sitting at the big organ (where the organist has the worst seat in the house), last night I felt I had the absolutely best position to hear the antiphonal music of the night — with one set of choir and instruments in one ear, and the other set of choir and instruments in the other. The music and the music-making was simply glorious, and just filled the ears with delight.
Here are some reactions to the program:
Great concert, one and all! So happy to be a part of something so beautiful; tonight I was reminded once again of why I sing—to collaborate with wonderful musicians, and, more than that, wonderful people. The feeling of being in the middle of all those big meaty chords was simply sublime! (Jeremy Wong)
Amazing to have you in Hawaii, Dana! We all learned so much from you and enjoyed our music making together! Haste ye back! (Simon Crookall)
A truly wonderful concert and evening with the lovely singers and musicians of Early Music Hawaii, and our own Historical Performance Institute IU—JSoM sackbuts— in memory of Carl Crosier. Hugely fun program and great people to make music with! (Dana Marsh)
Kathy—the concert last night was AWESOME! Sounds, talents, ancient instruments and joy of the performers all shone through. Carl started very precious events and you are carrying them on. Thank you so much! (Dot Hutchins)
Even Max van Egmond, world-class bass from Amsterdam, wrote on Facebook: I remember that church… those faces… the good old days… (Go back and read my previous post about Max coming to Hawaii to sing our performances of Bach’s St. John Passion.
It was also a reunion of Dana Marsh with Simon Crookall and Stephen Strugnell — Simon and Stephen used to live in Indianapolis, IN and in fact Simon, once the Senior Warden of Christ Cathedral Indianapolis, was the one who hired Dana for the Director of Music position there!
In case you would like to see a PDF of the program, click here. In addition to Othmayr listed previously, the concert included music by Michael Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, Johann Bach (a great uncle of J.S.), Johann Hermann Schein, Heinrich Scheidemann, Heinrich Schütz, Caspar Kittel, and Georg Boehm.
Yes, Carl’s spirit was definitely here last night! Everyone went home happy!