Monday, October 23, 2006

Duke Ellington

I was wandering about after class today. I happened to walk by St. Edward's to go through the bookshops near there and I ran into this poster (.pdf reader required). I was immediately thrilled. I love Duke Ellington and his Sacred Concert suite is one of best works from one of the best jazz composers in the States from the '40s-'50s era.

I have a CD of this very concert at home, and it is still a favorite. Ellington was classically trained, and his initial project was to set out and do a Jazz mass setting. Being the Pre-Vatican II era, he got a lot of flack for the idea. (The fact that he was black probably didn't help any either.) To make it more palatable to Cathedral deans, he opened it up to include gospel music and big band jazz amongst other things. Foreshadowing Liturgical reform a decade later, the work became a cult hit and any Cathedral in the US that put it on usually had to turn people away because it was always a sell out.

As a musical piece, it was specifically designed to be done in huge cathedrals. I can only image how incredible it will sound in Ely Cathedral. Needless to say, I ran home and bought a ticket online.

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