Richard Childress directs His Majesty’s Men. The ensemble has an impending concert in Chicago on Aug. 12 at the Church of St. John Cantius. The application will function a number of freshly commissioned Marian is effective by composers Mark Nowakowski and Peter Kwasniewski. Each composers will be existing at this live performance, which will also function quite a few Renaissance and Medieval motets, which includes the will work of William Byrd and Guillaume Dufay.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Richard. Can you explain to me a tiny about your ensemble, His Majesty’s Males? How did you appear to kind it? What is its key work?
Acquiring established and co-directed a Chicago choir in the 1980s, and subsequently visitor-conducting in quite a few nations, singing professionally for quite a few a long time here in Britain, and as a recently verified Catholic, I decided I preferred to type a new vocal ensemble in Chicago to give something back again to the location I arrived from. But I did not know who the finest singers may be, so I requested a handful of trusted people, and in 2016, 5 of us sat down at a table to rehearse for our first live performance. We five men from Chicago, New York and Britain experienced under no circumstances sung with each other in advance of, and I was a bit apprehensive, but from the to start with chord, we all felt we had anything distinctive.
For the reason that of our disparate locations, we clearly can’t carry out as typically as we’d like. It requires logistics and funds to carry us all alongside one another currently at the time a 12 months at St. John Cantius Church, which has been our live performance and rehearsal residence because that 1st functionality.
The guys sing countertenor, tenor and bass, a voicing that allows the group to appear close to the first seem and carrying out pitch of a lot early sacred vocal music, a legacy that varieties a massive part of our repertoire.
I consider of His Majesty’s Adult males as evangelists for the beauty of sacred music.
Singing with just a single man or woman to a aspect, a subtlety and nuance can be attained that is not quickly matched by greater choirs. This sort of intimate magnificence can and does transfer people to arrive to faith.
At your upcoming August concert, you will be doing works spanning 800 years, from the late Middle Ages to contemporary compositions. Why a combined software, as a substitute of just previous or just new?
I feel sacred music from all historical intervals has its magnificence, and audiences should really ideally expertise the complete wide variety of this incredible repertoire. Most audiences, by means of our feed-back, take pleasure in some sort of wide variety when they hear us. Some of our concert events emphasis on certain intervals like the 16th century, of which Spanish songs is a individual aim of ours (for example, new music by Cristóbal de Morales), but in other live shows, I like to cast a wider net, once in a while such as tasteful arrangements of music in what we could say is a much more common vein, mainly because there is elegance to be observed there also.
It is vital to take note that there is a certain set of vocal capabilities that tends to make early songs incorporate well with some modern day choral audio. For illustration, the songs of Tavener and Pärt can well complement Medieval and Renaissance audio, as has been demonstrated by teams like the Hilliard Ensemble. Individuals contemporary composers who can ideal tap into the mind of the Medieval and Renaissance composers have a great deal to exhibit us.
What can make sacred songs “sacred”? There are evidently a selection of models considered “sacred.” What do they have in common?
A relationship exists between audio and text, which helps demonstrate why we perception a piece of audio as “sacred” or even “devotional.” That romantic relationship between text and tunes, which the previously composers realized pretty much by intuition, with any luck , permits us to “see through” the notes to some thing increased.
The very best modern composers of sacred music choose what is most effective from record and custom and use it as grist for their creative mill.
So we could say that the greatest sacred new music probes the listener’s soul for a way in and then lifts that soul up to better factors.
You are that includes a number of contemporary composers. Can you say some thing about what led to your decision in this regard?
Considering the fact that our very first general performance, we have introduced present-day composers such as Tavener, Moody, Moore, Skempton and other folks, along with the new music of earlier hundreds of years.
But in early 2019, composer Mark Nowakokwski requested if he could produce one thing for us. Usquequo, Domine? was the piece that arrived out of that discussion. Because then, Mark has been our composer-in-home and has published new is effective for us each yr.
This yr, he is placing the ending touches on Ave Maris Stella, his location of an historic Latin hymn. Final calendar year, we also labored with Chicago composer Chad McCoy. His transferring piece A Cloud Enveloped Them, a meditation on the Transfiguration, produced a large affect on our viewers. We will accomplish it all over again on Aug. 12. Also this year, Catholic author and composer Peter Kwasniewski will publish for us a location of the devotional hymn Stabat Mater. We are delighted that an escalating selection of composers want to produce for us.
Our method this August, overall, has a Marian topic.
How do you imagine the apostolate of singing sacred music in concert as similar or unique to that of beautifying the liturgy with the identical new music?
In concert, one can pay attention to this tunes in distinct strategies, and if surrounded by the aesthetics of a lovely church, hearing it can be an entry level into religion for some people who in any other case would not believe of attending a liturgy where this tunes is heard.
Unfortunately, for the Catholic Church, tunes of this type is hardly ever heard in liturgies, as the Church was robbed of its musical patrimony in the 1960s and is only now starting up to get well.
What are your long run options with His Majesty’s Gentlemen? Where can we discover out much more about your perform?
We would obviously like additional performing opportunities, which will be dependent on extra funding.
From the beginning, I have had plans for the ensemble to have two arms: a person, to perform the fantastic music published in excess of the generations for vocal ensemble, in structures of terrific architectural elegance and two, to produce an educational element to our get the job done, so that aspiring young singers in the Midwest could research and accomplish in the context of small-ensemble operate. More information and facts can be located about His Majesty’s Males at HisMajestysMen.com or on Fb at Fb.com/hismajestysmen.
Tickets are readily available right here.
Julian Kwasniewski serves as the internet marketing and communications coordinator at Wyoming Catholic University. He writes about Catholic society and the arts, audio and spirituality for numerous Catholic publications. Composer Peter Kwasniewski is his father.