Dr. Anne Kilstofte - O Magnum Mysterium
O Magnum Mysterium tells quite simply of the mystery of Christmas Eve. I have always found Christmas Eve to be an event of quiet joy and humility. The text tells of the lowly circumstances into which Christ was born, including the stable with the animals. All of this is found in the traditional Latin text and the text painting is meant to show the difficulties of this evening as much as its wonder.
The cathedral that inspired this work is St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome. I spent a great deal of time there in 2006 and again in 2008. The many artworks inside and out are inspiration alone, but the fact that the dome was designed by Michelangelo, completed under the auspices of several Popes, and finished after Michelangelo’s death shows the endurance and selflessness of art.
Lyricism, motion, and color describe the music of Anne Kilstofte. Critics have spoken of her lyricism in shaping melodic lines as “breathtaking; the flow of her music is mellifluous; and her variety of tone colors which conjure landscapes that are sometimes misty, sometimes luminous, but always atmospheric adding that the subtlety of her palette shows her ability at writing for the voice which truly sets her music apart.”
Dr. Kilstofte has received substantial awards for her music including the Miriam Gideon Award for Songs of the Night Wind, for baritone and string quartet, commissioned by the Stockholm String Quartet. Kilstofte is known for creating for all genres, but is probably best known for her work with the voice, whether opera, oratorio, art song or choral music. She was named a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Estonia where she worked with the Estonian Camerata.
As an educator Dr. Kilstofte has received numerous awards for her teaching acumen at the universities and colleges where she has taught; teaching advanced composition, orchestration, and music theory among other subjects. Most recently she was honored with an Arizona Master Teachers Award, for teaching students about imagination and creativity.
Ms. Kilstofte holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota where she worked with Pulitzer-prize winning composer Dominick Argento.
Goulven Airault - Lux Aeterna (Dorioù ar baradoz)
Goulven Airault’s composition, Lux aeterna, comes from the communion portion of the requiem mass, and the Breton hymn, Kantik ar baradoz, (the inspiration for this composition) which is sung at funerals in Brittany, during the last farewell. This ancient hymn describes the joy that the soul experiences at death when it separates from the body and enters paradise. Sanctus accompanies the melody and comes from the liturgy of the Eucharist, when the faithful sing with the saints and angels of God’s glory.
Lux Aeterna-Doriou ar Baradoz is a short composition, but unambiguous in its expression: It addresses the question of death, not as the end, or despairing of the end, but rather the passage which drives us toward eternal light, the divine and merciful Love.
Despite violence and terrorist attacks which have occurred in my country recently, I want to transmit a sense of deep peace from my heart. It is through hope and faith that makes us capable of forgiveness. Only through God’s love and the forgiveness of sins that will enable us to find peace.
Goulven Airault began working as the chapel master of music of Saint-Brieuc Cathédrale in Brittany, France during 2009. He conducts all of the choirs at the cathedral including children, youth and adult choirs. Each choir performs music stemming from many composers and traditions, but Mr. Airault also composes liturgical, sacred and operatic works (for children) for the choirs at the Cathedral.
Goulven studied violin performance, conducting and composition through the Breton conservatories as well as at master classes and workshops throughout France and Germany. As a musician and educator of all ages – especially young singers – Mr. Airault hopes to transmit his passion for music. In particular, he hopes to share his personal devotion about the music of the Breton culture and he wishes that through his music and teaching he can be a witness of the Christian faith.