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Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I love pleasant surprises, and there is just an incredible feeling I get when amazing opportunities present themselves unexpectedly.  One of those opportunity came up over the weekend.

Last Thursday, a coworker of mine, invited me to go with her to see the Oratorio Society of Minnesota's final concert of their season.  You will remember that I had gone to two of their Downton Abbey themed concerts last year (here and here).  I like the OSM but don’t get to their concerts that often, so this was a wonderful surprise, and I immediately said “Yes!”

Waiting for the concert to begin.

Matthew Mehaffey, conductor for the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, 
welcomes everyone to the concert.

Dr. Rolf Jacobson's pre-concert presentation.

The performance opened with a short presentation by Dr. Rolf Jacobson from Luther Seminary, who spoke on “The Psalms, David and Hebrew Poetry.”  The presentation gave wonderful background to the different types of psalms, and how they were used, and spoke of their poetic nature and relationship to King David.  David, we learned, is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) more times than anyone else – more than Moses, and even more than Abraham.  The presentation was a fascinating look at a complex man.

The choir . . .

. . . And soloists perform Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.

The concert consisted of two works, the first was Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a contemporary arrangement of seven psalms sung in their original Hebrew.  The piece was an excellent example of how the different types of psalms, mentioned in Dr. Jacobson’s talk, could be used.  I hadn’t heard this piece before and really enjoyed it.

Conductor, Matthew Mehaffey, introduces Honegger's King David.

After a brief intermission the OSM performed their main piece, Arthur Honegger’s King David.  I wasn’t familiar with this piece beforehand, but it was nothing short of amazing!  The piece - a combination of narratives, solos, instrumentals, and choir selections - was divided into three parts showing David as a youth, an adult, and an old man.  The feel of each section offered a wonderful portrayal of the complex person that David was.  

Narrator, Andrew Stoebig, was an unexpected highlight of the performance.

While the music was incredible, the highlight, for me, was Andrew Stoebig, who served as narrator for the piece.  Stoebig was simply awesome, and I hope I have an opportunity to hear him again.  His interpretation of the narrative was truly the cohesive element of the piece.

Roseville Lutheran Church hosted this magnificent performance.

I have always enjoyed The Oratorio Society of Minnesota concerts I’ve attend over the years, and this one was no exception.  It was a spectacular performance, which helped to once again showcase how fortunate we are to have such quality groups here in the Twin Cities.

***Are you familiar with either the Chichester Psalms or King David?

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