New York Polyphony’s concert “Faith and Reason” was all that we hoped for, and more! Presenting them in Redford’s Church of the Assumption was spot-on. The precious old stone church has cathedral-like resonance, and the voices rang out and floated in the air. The vocal blend was miraculous, while each of the four singularly beautiful voices remained distinctive and strong throughout. It is clear why New York Polyphony enjoys a reputation as one of the finest vocal chamber ensembles in the world.
The program’s juxtaposition of ancient music with contemporary composition was brilliant. Thomas Tallis’s 16th-century Mass for Four Voices was flanked by short works of Andrew Smith (b. 1970) and Gabriel Jackson (b. 1962), Kyrie and Ite Missa est, respectively, both composed especially for New York Polyphony. The second half was devoted to Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin, commissioned by New York Polyphony. Using the traditional structure of the Latin mass as framework, Brown set excerpts of Darwin’s writings. It is a very successful, thought-provoking work, not least because the texts, while beautiful and poetic in and of themselves, are very pertinent to our concerns today about the environment. The concert concluded with Three American Folk Hymns arranged by Gregory Brown. We had a great turnout of 150 – ran out of programs and cookies;-)