THE CHELSEA CAROL
from Prophetiae Sibyllarum
Performed in Auer Hall at Indiana University, February 10, 2018 - conducted by Sam Ritter in Doctoral Recital under the mentorship of Prof. Walter Huff.
Katherine Burk, organist
Haunting and mysterious, this piece is distinct when compared to the well-known harmonic language that has garnered Eric Whitacre’s renown. The Chelsea Carol moves slowly, almost as a dirge, with the organ doubling a substantial amount of the choral material. The text of The Chelsea Carol is a ‘new’ Latin poem, recently written by a continuing collaborator of Whitacre’s named Charles Anthony Silvestri. In his writing, Silvestri has consciously broken certain rules of Latin grammar in order to underscore the fact that the language is still alive. He specifically does this by inventing Latin versions of words like “time-bearer” (Aevifera) and “frost-bearer” (Glacifera). Whitacre’s musical setting of this poem invokes ideas associated with advent: darkness, waiting, and preparation. The text elicits that one should “wait for Him who is to come.”
*program note by the conductor