Concert of Sacred Vocal Masterpieces this Sunday

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DANBURY – A celebration of sacred masterpieces for choir and organ that offer reverence to the Mass will be performed at St. Joseph Parish in Danbury. Antonín Dvořák’s Mass in D major will be performed at 3 pm in the Robinson Avenue church on Saturday, November 19.

This is the third concert being presented to the parish community and the Greater Danbury area that focuses on the prominent works of master composers who have enhanced the musical and spiritual experience of the Mass.

“Bishop Frank Caggiano in his pastoral initiative called ‘The One’ reminds us that beauty is a doorway to the sacred,” said Father Samuel V. Scott, pastor of St. Joseph’s. “St. Joseph Parish is offering an opportunity to open that doorway with an experience of sacred music of extraordinary beauty.”

The featured work is a glorious setting of the Ordinary of the Mass, including the “Lord Have Mercy, Gloria, Creed, Holy, Holy, Holy and Lamb of God,” composed by Dvořák, said Robert Fertitta, Director of Music at St. Joseph Parish. “It is magical and miraculous the way he captures it all.”

“These texts are universal,” Fertitta said. “To go to an event where this text is being sung in Latin with the English translation in hand is a highly rewarding experience.”

The opening words of the second section, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” are set to an exuberant fanfare, followed immediately by a complete contrast with the words, “and peace to His people on earth” set in a lyrical but still joyful mood,” Fertitta explained. The exuberance then continues with the words “we praise You, we bless You, we adore You, we glorify You,” bringing the opening section of the Gloria to a powerful conclusion.

“In a way it is operatic, in that it is dramatic but not to a secular text,” Fertitta said. “The listener gets to hear all five pieces in succession, unlike the way they are presented during an actual Mass.”

Dvořák’s work is structured as the mass text prescribes, with most parts performed by both soloists and choir including the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei.

“The interplay between the choir and organ is remarkable throughout the entire Mass,” Fertitta said.

The hour-long concert¸ which will feature 13 professional singers, many of whom have previously performed at St. Joseph Masses, will conclude with masterpieces by Felix Mendelssohn and César Franck.

“Our choral artists under the direction of Robert Fertitta, the Director of Music and organist at the parish, are giving us a graceful opportunity to grow in our cultural formation and draw us closer to God,” Father Scott said. “We stand in a debt of gratitude to them.”

In June, “Remembrance: A Concert of Sacred Vocal Masterpieces,” was hosted at the church and in December an international 200th birthday celebration for the work of Catholic composer César Franck was held.

“The audience will be hearing something unique,” Fertitta said. “The healing power of musical masterworks is like no other. It is a rare and special way to experience the Mass.”