Great Music for Great Cathedrals was first presented in 1986. More than a
concert, Great Music uses music, light, movement, and narration to celebrate the
role cathedral churches have played in art and history through the ages.
This year's program begins at the beginning, with ancient Gregorian chant, sung
The children of the Youth Music Program burst onto the scene with Nostra
phalans, a medieval song in praise of our patron, St. James. Their
colorful costumes suggest a medieval procession to the great shrine of St.
James, Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Altar servers carry brightly colored banners in this festive procession...
...while members of the Cathedral Choir join in the refrain.
The young women of Jubilate! become a choir of nuns!
As Cathedral tenor Howard Fankhauser sings Rossini's magnificent "Cuius animam"
from Stabat Mater, the servers give honor to the new Stations of the
Cross by Cathedral iconographer Joan Brand-Landkamer. This year's
production of Great Music showcased the work of a number of parish artists.
The children sing an Easter song from Malawi in Africa. The beautiful
yellow banners were created by the sisters of Maula Convent, Malawi.
The amazing lighting design by Jeff Robbins lets us see the Cathedral as never
The magnificent processional Feierlicher Einzug by Richard Strauss is a
Great Music tradition. Here the women of the Cathedral Choir prepare to
join the procession.
The Women of St. James Schola
Men of the Cathedral Choir
By the conclusion of the Strauss, performed by the Cathedral Brass in the west
gallery under the direction of Dr. James Savage, all the musical forces of the
production - well over 100 singers! - as well as servers and stage crew, have
gathered around the altar.
The golden banners, inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt, were created for the
Cathedral by parishioner Kitty Kavanaugh.
Great Music is also an opportunity to show off some historic treasures of the
Cathedral, like these splendid dalmatics.
Dr. Savage directs the Cathedral Choir in Widor's Surrexit a Mortuis,
accompanied by Clint Kraus on the Rosales organ and Joseph Adam on the
Phil Snedicor's Caritas Abundat is a transcription for brass of a chant
composed by St. Hildegard of Bingen.
Franz Biebl's Angelus is another Great Music favorite. As the
Angelus bell rings, the choirs gather around the illuminated image of the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
Men of the Cathedral Choir...
...joined by Jubilate! Young Women's Ensemble and the Schola Cantorum.
The Women of St. James Schola sing a setting of Psalm 8 by Thomas B. Stratman.
Tom Stratman, who died in 2008, also wrote many of the narrations used in the
The first half of the program concludes with music composed for two royal
funerals: that of Queen Mary II in 1694, and that of Queen Caroline in
1737. Clint Kraus leads in the brass as Henry Purcell's funeral march is
The crown is a replica of Queen Mary's state crown, created by Cathedral
chorister Daniel Clinton Baker.
"Their bodies are buried in peace..."
"...but their name liveth evermore!"
- INTERMISSION -
Following intermission, scenes from the medieval Play of Daniel are
performed. King Belshazzar (chorister Gregory Phillips) receives
the acclamations of his attendants (the Schola Cantorum).
The King is terrified by the handwriting on the wall. The Queen enters
with her maidens, and tells Belshazzar to seek out Daniel, a wise man from the
land of Judah.
Daniel (chorister Rohit Thomas) speaks the truth - "Thus I interpret the words
on the wall, a warning of doom." The wonderful poetry of W. H. Auden is
brought to life by Kurt Beattie, Artistic Director of Seattle's ACT Theatre, who
narrated this year's Great Music.
Belshazzar is defeated, and the Persian king Darius sits on his throne.
Stacey Sunde leads the Schola Cantorum. "Rex in aeternum vive!" "O
King, live forever!"
The Women of St. James Schola sing a 13th-century chant from Cologne, Alle
psallite cum luya.
The music of Giovanni Gabrieli takes us to San Marco, Venice, in the 16th
The servers carry icons, evoking the connection of East and West characteristic
Dr. James Savage conducts the Cathedral Cantorei in Schutz's Magnificat.
Joseph Adam performs Louis Vierne's Naiades. Vierne was
organiste titulaire at Notre Dame in Paris for more than thirty years.
The program ends with "Deep River" from Michael Tippett's A Child of Our
Time. Dancer J. Ian Randall performs the role of the "child of our
time," a young Polish Jew whose 1938 execution inspired Tippett to compose this
"Here is no final grieving, but an abiding hope. The moving waters renew
the earth. It is spring."
Dr. James Savage, joined by Joseph Adam, Cathedral Organist, and Dr. Clint
Kraus, Cathedral Associate Organist, takes a bow after the last performance of
Kurt Beattie, narrator (left) and Jeff Robbins, lighting designer, both made
extraordinary contributions to this year's production of Great Music.
Great Music is a result of the creativity, energy, and vision of Dr. James
Savage. BRAVO. Thank you, thank you! And thank you to the
hundreds of volunteers who brought that vision to life!
Click here to go behind the scenes at Great Music 2010.
VIEW PAST GREAT MUSIC ALBUMS
2007 | 2005
Photos by M. Laughlin (c) St. James Cathedral, Seattle, 2010.