A taste of heaven

Flanked by the two conductors, Tim Carney and Scott Fikse.

Here I am flanked by the two conductors, Tim Carney and Scott Fikse. (All photos on this page by Jeff Lilley.)

When I got into the car this morning, of course public radio came on, and I immediately recognized the music. It was Olivier Messiaen’s Alleluias sereins d’une ame qui desire le ciel (Serene alleluias from a soul who desires heaven) from his Ascension Suite for organ, although the performance was done in an orchestrated version. And then guess what host Gene Schiller immediately played afterwards? It was Maurice Duruflé’s “In paradisum” from the Requiem, which we had just heard so beautifully sung on Sunday night at Carl Crosier’s memorial concert. Gene said that the theme of this morning’s radio program was “A taste of heaven,” and it certainly described Sunday night’s music. 

The afterglow of the concert still warms my heart, as messages of congratulations and thanks continue to fill my inbox. One of the singers wrote me: It was my absolute honor to sing with my dear friends from both choirs. I will forever treasure the time I spent under Carl’s direction at LCH. (C.P.) Betsy McCreary wrote: Thank you, Kathy, for putting together a beautiful evening for so many.  

Look at the big crowd of people!

Look at the big crowd of people!

Look at the people listening to the concert outside in the courtyard, because there were no seats left inside.

A photo of the people listening to the concert outside in the courtyard, because there were no seats left inside.

I must admit that on the night of the concert, I had a hard time getting to sleep — the music of the concert kept playing over and over in my head! I think that’s called an “earworm.” Has that ever happened to you?

Another concertgoer couldn’t sleep that night: I would like to express my thanks for inviting me to last night’s concert. Reading about your husband, and your love for each other was heartwarming, and beautiful. To listen to the Duruflé with that love in mind brought me to tears. I could hardly sleep last night, as my soul was replenished with the quality of the performance…It truly was an honor to witness such a gorgeous and rich event.  (C.C.K.)

Last night I received a phone call from Carl’s former voice teacher, Neva Rego, who said she too was weeping throughout the whole concert — it was that beautiful, and so reminded her of Carl and his music-making for all these many years. She was very touched that I included a mention of her in the program, as Carl studied as a countertenor under her tutelage.

Organist Jonathan Dimmock at the continuo organ, giving pitches.

Organist Jonathan Dimmock at the continuo organ, giving pitches for the Ferko.

Organist Jonathan Dimmock and I talked after the concert, and he recalled how extremely efficient Carl was at rehearsing music. “He always started rehearsals exactly on the dot, not a minute late. Whether it was wrong notes, or wrong rhythms, or bad choral tone, he could fix it in an instant. He just knew how to do it efficiently and quickly. And most of all, he hated to waste precious rehearsal time.”

Yes, that is why he frequently only needed one rehearsal to conduct the choir before a big performance. Ask any of his choristers — his choirs were never over-rehearsed yet they always seemed to rise to the occasion. Well, at least 99% of the time!

Scott Fikse conducts the Frank Ferko Missa O Magne Pater.

Scott Fikse conducts the Frank Ferko Missa O Magne Pater.

Scott Fikse, conducting

Scott Fikse, conducting

Accolades are coming in for conductor Scott Fikse, too. After all, he is only a very recent transplant to Hawaii when he assumed the Director of Music and Liturgy position in July. I’m so grateful he was willing to take on the challenging Frank Ferko Missa O Magne Pater. 

One of the benefactors of the concert wrote to Scott: It was so kind of you to undertake a large new work right away. Frank Ferko was transfixed at hearing it, and he was overjoyed at knowing that such a large audience could share the music, too. I loved the Messiaen-like sections in the Gloria and Credo, their two different Amens, the suggestion of rustling angelic wings in the Sanctus, and the relaxed, leisurely peace of the Agnus Dei. Some of the harmonies also were extraordinary. I’m deeply pleased that we could hear such beautiful new music. (Editor’s Note: And did you know that Frank Ferko was a scholar of the music of Olivier Messiaen, and has lectured on and performed many of Messiaen’s works? Yes, Ferko is an organist, too! And when he met Olivier Messiaen, he got his autograph.)

Because of Musicians Union requirements, I can’t share the recording that was made Sunday night, but I offer here a performance with Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Hampson (baritone), the Orféon Donostiarra and Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Michel Plasson conducting. Those of you who don’t know the Duruflé Requiem will appreciate the great beauty of this work and will understand why this work is so beloved after listening to the following YouTube video.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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