Friday, May 06, 2016

How St John Paul II’s Letter to Artists Converted a Composer and Created a Servant for the Church

We are only a few days away from the world premiere of the oratorio composed by Frank LaRocca about the life of St Rita, called A Rose In Winter. It has been commissioned by St Rita’s Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas, and will premiere on Saturday, May 21st at the church. There are still places available at the concert and at the conference that has been organised at the same venue to mark the occasion. The conference runs from May 19-21 and is entitled High Above the Stars; Sainthood, Beauty and Catholic Artistic Expression.

For those who wish to know more about Frank’s story, here is an article by Mark Nowakowski on the blog about his conversion, and his approach to composition. It describes how the Letter to Artists, and his acceptance of the need for beauty in the culture, caused him to reject modernism and dissonance in music, and reach for the source of all beauty, God.

I was luck enough to hear a wonderful performance of his work by the Young Women’s Chorus of San Francisco in Berkeley, California, earlier this year. Here the same choir, recorded in 2014 performs his Ave Maris Stella:

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