Behind the Music for Divine Light

Artistic Director Philip Brunelle carefully selected each piece for the Divine Light concert on Sunday, October 13th. Watch and read more about why below and purchase your tickets today!

The Ensemble Singers are an amazing group—certainly Minnesota’s finest!  I want them to sing for you a program that gives you, the listener, an idea of the variety of music that singers can offer. Working with a solo violin is something we don’t often do and having Co-Concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as our soloist for Psalm 151 offers a special opportunity—especially because the text places the violin as God! This piece explores many different sounds—churchy, blues, rock—you’ll love it! Hear a preview of the piece below.

You know that I am always looking for unique, beautiful music that has not been heard in our community. I was thrilled to discover this Irish woman, Ina Boyle, who was composing music in the 1920s—a totally new name to me! She studied with Ralph Vaughan Williams and was one of the most prolific Irish composers in the 1920s. Her beautiful music was forgotten until a few years ago. I came across her Gaelic Hymns and instantly knew it would be perfect for the Ensemble Singers.

The first time that I heard A Silence Haunts Me by Minneapolis composer Jake Runestad, I just knew I needed to make room in the Divine Light concert to include it. It memorializes a letter that Beethoven wrote to his brothers about his increasing deafness and his struggle to find the will to go on. The letter was never sent, and 14 years (and many masterpieces) later, Beethoven passed away after having made his mark on musical history.

The piece is breathtakingly beautiful and includes a special role for Beethoven’s instrument (piano). I have asked the Ensemble Singers to memorize half of the piece so that they can convey the words directly to you, the audience. Watch a video of the piece below to get a taste of what I mean.