FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thu, Nov 15, 2016
Marketing & Public Relations Manager
MIAMI – Presenting a Grammy nominated program spanning 10 centuries of music history, vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire brings its annual candlelit Christmas presentations to Florida this December with repertoire featuring audience-favorite “Jesus Christ The Apple Tree,” and the anticipated premiere of new carol settings by composer Susan LaBarr, whose arrangement of “Quem Pastores Laudavere” was included in New York Polyphony’s Grammy-winning album “Sing Thee Nowell.” Concerts run Dec. 7 through Dec. 18 and include Southeast Florida dates in Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton; as well as two presentations in Florida’s southwest coast at Moorings Park’s Bower Chapel in Naples. Tickets are available at https://www.seraphicfire.org or 305-285-9060.
Commissioned by Seraphic Fire with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Susan LaBarr’s “Songs for the Morning Star” explores the Christmas story by focusing on the Virgin Mary’s journey through three carols, two English (“There Stood In Heaven A Linden Tree” and “Blessed Be That Maid Marie”) and one Basque (“The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came”).
The piece’s storyline begins with a carol that paints the Angel Gabriel’s visit to earth in which he tells Mary about her God-given assignment to deliver Baby Jesus. This story is intertwined with a comparison between Mary and a linden tree, the most beautiful tree in heaven. In the second movement of “Songs for the Morning Star,” LaBarr continues the narrative of Gabriel’s conversation with Mary using oriental musical techniques characteristic of Spain. The haunting melodies of this second movement offer a dramatic rendition of Mary’s conversation that vividly demonstrates Gabriel’s return to heaven after his exchange with Mary. Finally, in the last movement, LaBarr brings about an earthly retelling of the birth of Jesus by employing the Aeolian scale, which gives the music mysterious otherworldliness representative of the Nativity story.
“Throughout history, we find instances of Mary being described using images of light, particularly as the morning star,” says LaBarr. “St. Bernard of Clairvaux describes this likeness: ‘Behold the Star!’ The Christmas story is full of mystery, and Mary is central to that mystery. These carol arrangements are a celebration of Mary’s story and a tribute to the bright morning star.”
The most popular program of the ensemble’s season, “A Seraphic Fire Christmas” will showcase Susan LaBarr’s set alongside glorious traditional carols including “O Come All Ye FaithFul,” “In Dulci Jubilo,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “Silent Night,” many of which led the ensemble to its 2012 Grammy nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance. This one-of-a-kind juxtaposition of new works, carols, and Gregorian chant, which the Miami Herald calls “gorgeous and evocative,” has delighted thousands of Florida concert-goers for more than a decade. The program is, in essence, an aural collage that celebrates the holidays through various musical perspectives that speak of angels, shepherds, and the holy family.
“It really isn’t the holiday season until you hear a choir sing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Silent Night,’” says Founder & Artistic Director Patrick Dupré Quigley. “Our holiday concert is a sung Christmas card – images and messages that last with listeners throughout the season.”
“A Seraphic Fire Christmas” also opens the ensemble’s 2016-2017 Southwest Florida series. Returning for a second season, Seraphic Fire will present six concerts in Naples, Florida. Its two Christmas presentations (one abridged matinee and one full-length evening feature), will be followed in the coming months by the group’s 15th Anniversary Celebration in January, a showcase of J. S. Bach’s six motets in February, and a Russian program anchored by the music of Rachmaninoff in February.
“Bringing the joy and warmth of our Seraphic Fire Christmas program to Naples gives us great pride,” says Executive Director Rhett M. Del Campo. “This program affords us a celebratory opening of our west coast season with music that spreads the message of hope and peace.”
Seraphic Fire presents beloved Florida holiday tradition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE