2017-2018:  40th Anniversary Season

Forty Years of Sacred and Profane

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A Winter’s NightSongs of Evening, Stars, and the Northern Lights

Fly into Sacred and Profane’s 40th season with a secular holiday concert about the night sky. This ethereal program will feature music by Monteverdi, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Alfvén. We will also sing works by several contemporary composers, including Steven Stucky and Stacey Gibbs from the United States, Ola Gjeilo from Norway, and Karin Rehnqvist from Sweden. We are especially excited about Ēriks Ešenvalds, the young Latvian composer who has taken the choral world by storm, and we will be performing his moving Stars for choir and water-tuned wineglasses, in addition to other great works.



 Sacred German Masterpieces

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” – J.S. Bach

German composers have given us one of the most significant bodies of Christian sacred music, from the brilliance of J.S. Bach and his family, through Mozart, Brahms, and beyond. We will sing Bach’s motet Sei Lob und Pres mit Ehren — which was falsely attributed to another composer for centuries — and Brahms’ motet Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen, considered his greatest sacred a cappella work. We are alsothrilled to present Hugo Distler’s dramatic Totentanz, a passion play in which Death spars with his victims, and we are excited to include American Conservatory Theater actor Paul Finocchiaro performing the part of Death. This grand program will also feature Clytus Gottwald’s arrangement for 16-voice choir of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, no. 3: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, one of the composer’s most moving works for voice and orchestra.


Sacred and Profane’s 40th Anniversary Concert: Forty Years of Sacred & Profane

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible, and inconceivable” — Aaron Copland

Celebrate Sacred and Profane’s fortieth year of bringing exquisite concerts to the Bay Area with a program of masterpieces for a cappella choir! This concert will feature the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis’ Curse Upon Iron, a powerful work about the cultivation of iron as a vehicle for both ancient and modern warfare, as well as Arvo Pärt’s antiphon for peace, Da pacem Domine. For the first time in many years, we will sing our namesake work– Benjamin Britten’s Sacred and Profane: Eight Medieval Lyrics, the last piece that Britten composed for professional a cappella choir. Finally, we are delighted to conclude our season with the world premiere of a new work commissioned from the compelling Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist. Please join us for this musical celebration, with a pre-concert conversation with Karin at 7:45 PM and a reception following each of the Bay Area concerts on the 11th and 12th!