Electroacoustic Vespers

21 October 2016 | Saint John's Lutheran Church (Montréal)

Remembering summer’s bright days and anticipating winter’s deathly tone, open yourselves to a radiant withering of autumn through an electro-acoustic* Vespers. Vespers: the church’s evening prayer that reflects a review of the day ending and a preview of tomorrow’s expectations captures the turning of the earth: autumn passing and winter dawning. This vespers, to which we invite you, works the themes accompanying these seasons with music and word. The revelation will be the central Christian themes of hope, promise, and re-birth.

Joel Peters (Music Director and Organist at St. John’s) and Adrian Foster have prepared original compositions for the vespers which keep its traditional shape in mind. Peters has set the ancient Greek vespers hymn giving thanks for the light (3rd century text), the Phos Hilaron (“O gracious light”) for strings and choir. It illuminates the ethereal, yet earthy elements of this ancient thanksgiving for light. On the lustrous backdrop of electronic sounds, Foster sets the Magnificat in an expression of triumphant ecstasy; this traditional “Song of Mary” resonates with bold organ statements and dense choral textures.

The electronic soundtrack is composed exclusively from recordings of the sounds of summer at St. John’s Lutheran. These summer sounds form the backdrop for the entire vesper’s service. This electronic element not only brings out nuances in the music, but localizes the liturgy in a way peculiar to the congregation of St. John’s yet without being restricted to a place (since so much of the “summer sounds” are not necessarily of St. John’s doing). At this liturgy of evening prayer at St. John’s, we are being both local to our context and place, while also being in communion with a greater liturgy that is so much more than any one of us and transcendent to us.

Watch the Electroacoustic Vespers teaser trailer

(Directed by Marlee Gruss-Neidhart)

Listen to excerpts from the Electroacoustic Vespers