Serafim Smigelskiy, the cellist in the Tesla Quartet, playing alone in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Photo by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dan Forrest: Jubilate Deo – Nikki Eoute, Laura Brundage, Heather Huron, Rivertree Singers Festival Chorus, Rivertree Singers, Warren Cook (HD 1080p)

Watch the Southeast premiere of Dan Forrest's newest major work, Jubilate Deo, under the baton of Warren Cook! The festival performance, June 25, 2016 was in Greenville, South Carolina, and featured over 190 singers, orchestra, and comments from the composer. Jubilate Deo is a seven-movement setting of Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth". The work presents portions of the Psalm in eight different languages, representing "all the earth" resounding with joy. Festival singers also enjoyed a reception with Dan Forrest hosted by Rivertree Singers. The concert was held at Rodeheaver Auditorium on the campus of Bob Jones University.

Dan Forrest states: Jubilate Deo portrays the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, "O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands", by setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences. Each movement combines some characteristics of its language-group's musical culture with the composer's own musical language. The opening movement sets the ancient liturgical Latin translation of the Psalm in a rather American musical idiom and introduces key musical motives for the work. The second movement sets the "from age to age" portion of the text in Hebrew and Arabic, evoking ancient cultures from the Middle East. The music intentionally intertwines the two languages in a symbolic gesture of unity between these cultures. Movement three, in Mandarin Chinese, is a tranquil setting of the shepherd-sheep metaphor from Psalm 100 and quotes "the Lord is my shepherd" from Psalm 23. The orchestra evokes the sounds of traditional Asian instruments. The fourth movement sets celebratory portions of the text in Zulu and draws from African vocal and drumming traditions. Movement five represents Latin America, setting Spanish text to a folk-song style melody and blending traditional folk instrumental sounds with imitative textures. The sixth movement, "Song of the Earth", portrays the Earth itself singing – first wordlessly, but eventually finding its own voice – and leads seamlessly into the final movement. The finale unites many of the key themes and cultures from previous movements with other material, both old and new, as all the earth sings as one, "omnis terra, jubilate!"

Dan Forrest (b. 1978)

♪ Jubilate Deo (2016)

i. Jubilate Deo... [00:50]*
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. Be ye sure that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and speak good of his name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth from generation to generation. (Psalm 100, Latin Vulgate)

ii. Ve adthdor vador (From age to age) [09:40]
Bless his name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures from age to age. (From Psalm 100:4-5, Hebrew and Arabic)

iii. Ta cao chang de yang (The sheep of his pasture) [18:35]
It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (From Psalms 100:3 and 23:1, Mandarin Chinese)

iv. Ngokujabula! (With great rejoicing!) [27:15]
Shout with triumph to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with joy, come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God! (From Psalm 100:1-3, Zulu)

v. Bendecid su nombre (Bless his name) [32:27]
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Be thankful, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4, Spanish)

vi. Song of the Earth [39:28]
Alleluia. (Praise Jehovah – nearly universal transliteration)

vii. ...Omnis Terra! [44:56]
Sing for joy, dance in gladness, shout for joy, all the earth! (Adapted from various English translations)

Nikki Eoute, soprano
Laura Brundage, soprano
Heather Huron, soprano

Rivertree Singers Festival Chorus
Rivertree Singers

Artistic Director, Conductor: Warren Cook

Rodeheaver Auditorium on the campus of Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, June 25, 2016

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each movement

Dan Forrest (b. 1978) has been described as "a composer of substance" (Columbus Dispatch), whose works have been hailed as "magnificent, very cleverly constructed sound sculpture" (Classical Voice), and "superb choral writing... full of spine-tingling moments" (Salt Lake Tribune). Dan's music has become well established in the repertoire of choirs in the United States and abroad. Dan's choral works have received dozens of awards and distinctions, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award and the ACDA Raymond Brock Award. His music has been premiered in major venues around the world and has been broadcast multiple times on American Public Media's "Performance Today". His critically acclaimed Requiem for the Living (2013) has quickly become his best-known work, with performances across the United States and in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Dan holds a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Kansas and a master's degree in piano performance from Bob Jones University. He keeps a full schedule of commissions, workshops, recordings, adjunct professorships, and residencies with universities, churches, and community choirs, collaborating as accompanist, presenting his music, and teaching composition.

Founded in 2010, Rivertree Singers is a choral ensemble of young professionals who love living and working in Greenville, SC. The name reflects a love for the beautiful trees and river that have been the inspiration for the city's model revitalization. The singers are alumni of collegiate choral organizations at Converse College, Erskine College, Presbyterian College, Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, Bob Jones University, Furman University, Winthrop University, University of Georgia, and the University of South Carolina. They share a passion for choral singing and the belief that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Known for expressive performances of serious choral music and spirited renditions of folk and popular song, Rivertree Singers enriches Greenville's thriving arts community with a three-concert season. Commissioning and performing works by emerging choral composers and partnering with choral arts musicians and organizations further extends the choir's mission to delight and inspire through singing.

Rivertree Singers recently appeared as an invited performing choir at the Southern Division ACDA convention in 2014, the South Carolina ACDA Fall Conference in 2015, and the Southern Division ACDA Convention Worship Event in 2016. They are also regularly featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Spotlight Series in Charleston, SC.

As part of the mission to delight and inspire, Rivertree Singers is proud to host its annual Rivertree Singers & Friends Choral Festival.

Warren Cook, founder and artistic director of Greenville's Rivertree Singers, earned a DMA in Choral Conducting Performance at the University of South Carolina and studied at Westminster Choir College and Bob Jones University. As Director of Choral Activities at Bob Jones University, he conducts the two premier choral organizations and oversees a graded program of six choirs enrolling 350 students. He teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, literature, and methods courses, and conducts choral-orchestral performances. Cook regularly appears across the U.S. as adjudicator, clinician, and conductor for choral workshops and festivals. His choirs have been auditioned performers at international, national, NAfME and ACDA events. In addition to his teaching and performing, Cook served as Pastor of Worship for over 30 years.

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