Over our last two concert series – Celebrate Hope (December 2012) and Landmarks (July 2013), our faithful audiences will have recognised a familiar face on stage among the choristers, that is also new face behind the conductor’s stand.
It’s none other than longtime member Roger Henry, who returned to Trinidad last year after completing his doctorate in choral conducting in the United States, and who has served as our assistant musical director and one of our conductors ever since.
As part of our 50th anniversary A Christmas Jubilee celebrations, one of the things we are most excited about is giving the world premiere of There was a man sent from God, an original piece written by Dr. Henry. We also look forward to premiering his I To the Hills – another original composition he dedicated to the Marionettes for our 50th anniversary in a concert to come.
Click here to read more about Dr. Henry and the rest of our executive team.
This new piece, just under six minutes long, is a contemplative choral rendering of the first 13 verses of the first chapter of the biblical gospel according to St. John (“In the beginning was the Word…”). The piece is set for six-part choir with soprano and baritone soloists.
In laying out the text, Henry relies on traditional antiphonal declamation typical of formal scriptural readings in liturgical settings. The piece is textured into three distinct layers: the soloist; the antiphonal respondents; and the chorus of witnesses who repeat and confirm key ideas in the text. The layers weave around each other in what seems a never-ending tapestry of overlapping phrases.
The sound world of this piece is typical of Henry’s composing style: clusters of harmonies sustain and overlap each other, giving the effect of listening to music in a very live (or wet) acoustic where sounds echo for several seconds after they are initiated. The clusters become richer and more complex as the piece builds to its climax at the text, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God.”
Deliberately emphasising the text here over melody, Henry encourages the listener more towards the meaning of the text itself. These elements combine for a unique contemplative experience.
For 50 years, faithful patrons and lovers of the Christmas season have always said: “Christmas begins with the Marionettes”! Ever-devoted to what has become a national tradition, the BP Marionettes return the first weekend of December at Queen’s Hall with A Christmas Jubilee!
Featuring the Marionettes’ adult, Youth and Children’s Choirs, the Marionettes continue their 50th anniversary celebrations Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th December at Queen’s Hall with a programme of audience Christmas favourites, and of course the world premiere of There was a man sent from God.
The series is supported by our invaluable corporate partners: media partners Sweet 100.1FM, TalkCity 91.1FM, C-TV (of the Caribbean New Media Group, CNMG); FLOW (Columbus Communications), on whose Local On Demand platform several of the Marionettes’ most popular concerts will soon be available for pay-per-view, all proceeds of which go to the Marionettes Property Fund; and the Marionettes’ title sponsor since 1972, BP Trinidad & Tobago (bpTT).
Early ticket bookings for this anticipated concert event have already started coming in!
See you there!