For over a score of years and counting, our local choir of angels, ChildrenSong of New Jersey, has brought stellar choral beauty to Haddonfield. And for more than two score, so has The New Jersey MasterChorale.
Last Sunday (April 23), to the delight of 400-plus appreciative attendees, these two premier musical forces joined voices at the Haddonfield United Methodist Church for a splendid performance of John Rutter’s deeply soul-stirring Mass of the Children.
The concert opened with Stavinsky’s Symphony of Psalms; followed by three short choral arrangements exquisitely performed by ChildrenSong, under the direction of ChildrenSong founder, longtime Haddonfield faculty member, and town treasure Polly Murray; and closed with Rutter’s Mass.
According to program notes, the Mass was (only slightly) influenced by Stavinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, notably the closing of the third psalm (#150)—a gorgeous and rare departure by that composer from his usual edgy dissonance. Rutter’s subtle echo, notable in his Agnus Dei, brought a rounded whole to the entire concert.
Speaking of scores, this Rutter score stands as manifest proof of the natural triumph of harmony over dissonance, as borne out over the long discordant 20th century of “modernism,” which was reflected by the program order of this concert.