UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
El 14 de septiembre de 2014. Muchísimas gracias to Dr Julian Wachner, Avi Stein and The Trinity Choir for their superb performance last Sunday of “Draw us in the Spirit’s tether.” It was an example of choral excellence. Hola, some amigos came over and I was in the process of writing about the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus, which I’ll be posting soon. The superb Trinity Choir came up in conversation. I said: well they should all be back by now so we went to the video of the Liturgy from last Domingo/Sunday and I was so pleased that they performed that anthem (Harold W. Friedell’s Draw us in the Spirit’s tether) I had been waiting for them to perform again. It was lovely. Superb. With The Trinity Choir performing that piece, it sort of “sings itself” which is probably why Julian’s conducting was rather minimal for the piece. He’s very interesting to watch and one can immediately hear the results of his conducting because the choristers (wisely) watch him extremely closely. In his conducting for this piece, he did what was necessary and gave indications for certain parts/lines to be brought out per his interpretation of the piece and that’s it. Lovely phrasing. And as usual, The Trinity Choir was perfectly on pitch when the organ (played by Associate Organist and Chorus Master, Avi Stein) came back in after their a cappella section. It was lovely and the choristers seemed to really get into it, which I very much like to see. They seemed to really enjoy the piece. So did I and mi amigos. Then we were treated to Julian’s (what I call) High Anglican organ improvisation. That was equally superb. It was glorious with the censing of the altar and lots of incense. (So they do know how to do it when they want!) The only thing missing perhaps was a glorious choral ending on the end of the organ improvisation. Qué?/What? Well, just hear me out: Maybe a fortissimo slow “Ah-men” at the end of the organ improvisation from the Chorus would be nice, with the sopranos and those superb tenors up in the stratosphere of course. They’ve never done that type of thing because but while listening to the organ improvisation and watching it I and mi amigos felt the organ improvisation also needed the Chorus with the organ in grand and glorious style. That might have been interesting (and beautiful) and if it were me, I’d have The Trinity Choir do it. One amigo suggested they might sing the very last part/phrase of the anthem again as the “choral final” of the organ improvisation.
Un amigo said: you said you weren’t writing anymore about The Trinity Choir. I don’t plan to and just so there’s no misunderstanding here: It’s not The Trinity Choir, Julian or anyone in the Music Department at Trinity Wall Street that I’m annoyed with. It’s the administration/decisions/policies of that place (Trinity Wall Street) and some of the things that they do that turn me off, such as deleting videos of their outstanding choral performances by The Trinity Choir. I’ve gone through some of my articles about them to check the links as I’ve had time, and they’ve left some videos on (by coincidence)? But since I don’t know what videos they will leave on and what they will take off, it’s best if I not write anything about them. Or, write about them on occasion and just not give any links, which is what I’m doing here (see video information below).
Also, most of the choristers are back from last season. I’m glad to see tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson is back. I counted three missing choristers: Eric (tenor), Matthew (bass, countertenor & probably another part upon request) and Dashon (bass). By my count, they had 19 voices and they usually have about 20-23 if I remember correctly.
So enjoy their lovely anthem—I don’t think it could be done better by anyone!—and to Julian, Avi and The Trinity Choir I again say: Muchísimas gracias for doing that. I’ll be watching it many times and thoroughly enjoying it. Chau.—el barrio rosa
So, to see/hear that anthem sung, go to:
trinity wall street dot org
When it finally loads (it’s a very slow website at least on my system), then go down to the bottom of the page and click on “Videos” under the “Media” column. Then find:
September 7, 2014
the 13th Sunday of Pentecost
11.15 am Liturgy
And the Offertory anthem begins at about: 55.35 into the video
Depending upon when you’re reading this, that video may or may not be there.
This article revisited: El 11 de junio de 2014. Hola, I received the following e-mail in the last week:
“Hello, I read where you said you’d not be writing any more about the Trinity Choir and was sorry to hear that but I understand your reasons why. You might know, did the Trinity Choir sing “Draw us in the Spirit’s tether” this season? Thank you for answering my question.—Diane”
My response: Hola, Diane. I haven’t been watching their liturgies. I had thought about this piece recently because I was wondering if the video was still there from last Summer when The Trinity Choir Chamber Chorus (that’s what I call them) performed it. I’ll check on that later. I had also thought that The Trinity Choir (the full Chorus) might perform this piece again this season, but so far they hadn’t, unfortunately. After I got your e-mail, I went to their website and looked around and last Domingo/Sunday (Pentecost) the piece was performed. I was very pleased to see that because I was wondering when The Trinity Choir would perform this again because they performed it superbly the last time they did it (those tenors, ah!) which was during the 2013 season (I’m not talking about the Summer performance). So I clicked on the video for Pentecost, and even though the service leaflet says “The Trinity Choir,” who processes in? The Family Choir. Sigh. I was very disappointed. Someone might say: Well, some choristers of The Trinity Choir are in The Family Choir, doesn’t that make a difference? Not really. That’s the same as putting two choral groups together of different skills/ability levels and one (The Family Choir) contaminates the other (The Trinity Choir). How many people who attended that Liturgy who had not been there before thought they were hearing The Trinity Choir with their reputation, when instead it was The Family Choir that showed up (where the quality level is not the same)?…Julian can only do so much with what he has to work with! He cannot make a Trinity Choir choristers out of someone who does not possess that talent, the sight-reading abilities or high-skill musicianship level). So, the answer to your question is no, The Trinity Choir hasn’t performed this piece since the 2013 season, unfortunately. In what little I did watch of the video, I did notice the camera people’s infatuation with the ceiling of the Nave (again). Gracias for your e-mail. Chau.—rosa barrio
El 10 de octubre de 2013. Hola. I was in the mood to hear Harold W. Friedell’s choral piece, “Draw us in the Spirit’s tether” after Benjamin Straley, Assistant Organist at Washington National Cathedral, played Gerre Hancock’s “Meditation on Draw us in the Spirit’s tether” for organ recently, and then Benjamin went on to use a little bit of the piece at the beginning of his improvisation. (See: Benjamin Straley’s improvisation on Mit Freuden zart).
I first heard the choral version of “Draw us in the Spirit’s Tether” when The Trinity Choir performed it last season. It was excellent. But since Trinity Wall Street does not archive the Liturgy videos more than 3 months, that performance is gone unfortunately. So maybe the full Trinity Choir will perform that piece again sometime during the 2013-14 season, hopefully. I used my search engine (DuckDuckGo) and it brought up a performance of that piece by The Trinity Choir from early en septiembre 2013. At that time, the full Trinity Choir was still on Summer break so it was really the—what I call—Trinity Chamber Choir: 8 voices. The Trinity Chamber Choir should be very pleased with themselves after their performance. It was excellent. One would not get that same sound or performance with 8 other voices necessarily (unless they were other voices from The Trinity Choir). Give that piece to some other group and it could/would sound like 8 different people singing. In this case, the Trinity Chamber Choir sounded like a smaller version of The Trinity Choir, which was/is the goal.
Janet Yieh is now Assistant Organist at Trinity Wall Street. She was the Organ Scholar until recently—the principal organist left—and Janet is a student at The Juilliard School. She did a nice job of accompanying the Friedell and giving appropriate cues. I was annoyed when she played an organ voluntary Marche Triomphale Op. 65 No. 59/Nun danket alle Gott by Sigfrid Karg-Elert at the end of the Liturgy and no one applauded her, which those who stay for the organ voluntary usually do for any other organist. I thought that was rude of those who stayed to hear her. Why no applause for her? She played well. You usually applaud for anyone else.
The Trinity Choir: Britten/Venite exultemus Domino
Now moving on to the Benjamin Britten anthem. That was intenso. But it may just be me because mi amigo was watching/listening to the Liturgy on St. Michael and All Angels (September 29, 2013) and he didn’t find it intenso. I’m speaking about the offertory Anthem: Britten/Venite exultemus Domino performed by The Trinity Choir. I’ve been listening to that piece and watching it critically as a “choral person” and I found it very intenso. I had not heard the piece before. One could say that the Chorus is rather “exposed” in the piece. There are mostly quite chords in the organ throughout and the Chorus is hushed/quiet through most of it with a couple of f or ff passages. It was beautifully done and with impeccable diction. Some of the choristers looked more relaxed than others. Some looked the way I was feeling watching it: Intenso: On pins and needles. Later in the week we watched the video again and mi amigo said that the piece was a soothing piece for him and he especially liked the organ part (played by Erik William Suter). On that listening, I mostly took off my “choral cap,” so to speak, and listened to it more as he was doing and I agreed it was a soothing/calm piece. I guess it just depends what “place” one is in internally when one listens to it. I would think that with this piece no matter how many times one performed it, it would still feels the same way: Intenso, because of what it is and the way it’s written. But they did a lovely job on it and Erik William Suter’s organ accompaniment was equally fine. This piece was performed as part of The Britten Festival at Trinity Wall Street.
The entire Liturgy was nice and looked very
rehearsed orderly. Some nice art work was shown on a screen during the Homily/Sermon and we especially liked the organ improvisations, which I think were mostly by Julian but I think Erik did one or two improvisations (it was hard to tell who was playing from where the camera was). By the way, whatever happened to the side camera that was over on the right side that showed both the Chorus and Julian? That camera doesn’t seem to be used now.
The Communion Anthem: Faure/Cantique de Jean Racine was well sung and also with the clearest of diction. Impeccable diction is one of the characteristics or ways that The Trinity Choir reminds me of the University of Maryland Chorus which I recently wrote a Tribute to at that link, because The Maryland Chorus was especially known for their impeccable diction. Interestingly, Julian and The Washington Chorus, which he conducts, honoured Dr Paul Traver, founder/director of the University of Maryland Chorus three years ago along with Norman Scribner, founder and former director of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and other choral founders. (The Washington Chorus set to honor Twelve Great Chorus Founders Nov. 9)
So check out the Britten Venite exultemus Domino. I doubt it’s ever been performed better. Chau.—rosa barrio
Britten begins at 56.50 in the video below.
The Psalm/Anglican Chant begins at 16.33
Faure begins at 01.17.30
NOTE: Just so you know…At least on my system the new Trinity Wall Street website sucks. It is extremely slow. It takes forever for things to load. I suggest lots of patience in waiting for these videos to come up. The Trinity Choir is worth the wait. The videos spin, spin, spin and finally load but they don’t play smoothly. There are little blips in them as they’re playing as if they are still not fully loaded. Who the fuck came up with that website? It was better and faster before someone had the bright idea of redesigning the website. Loco/a.