Listen: Hermosura de Dios

Excerpt from "Letrilla" ("Let nothing disturb you"), Hermosura de Dios

Excerpt from "Ya No Durmais" ("All you who do battle under this banner"), Hermosura de Dios

From the archival recording of the world premiere, performed by the Crescendo Summer Institute of the Arts Orchestra, with mezzo-soprano Andrea Meláth, under the direction of Delta David Gier.

For information on performing this work or obtaining a perusal score, please contact SDG.

About the composer

Born in London in 1966 but resident in Paris since 1989, Peter Bannister has earned awards at the national and international level as a composer and performer, including the Prix André Caplet for composition from the Institut de France as well as prizes at the Chartres and Nuremberg international organ competitions and three awards at the International Composition Competition in San Sebastian (Spain).

His catalogue comprises orchestral, choral, chamber and solo vocal and instrumental music, with performances in Europe and North America, as well as broadcasts on Italian and American public radio.

As a solo pianist and organist, Bannister has given concerto performances and recitals in Britain, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the USA. Committed to inter-disciplinary dialogue between theology, art, and science, he has given guest lectures at the Institut Catholique de Paris, American Episcopal Cathedral in Paris, St Andrews Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Boston University, Calvin, Carthage and Wheaton Colleges.

For a complete biography, visit Peter Bannister's website.

For Peter Bannister's music and theology blog, visit "Da stand das Meer"

 

Hermosura de Dios ("The Beauty of God")

Peter Bannister
Hermosura de Dios
("The Beauty of God")

Mezzo-soprano soloist, women's chorus (optional) & chamber orchestra
DURATION: 26 minutes
TEXT: poetry of Teresa of Avila; translations by the composer
Song cycle in five sections that reflects Teresa of Avila’s burning desire
for an encounter with God.

 

 

World Premiere
August 2010
Crescendo Summer Institute of the Arts Chorus & Orchestra
Andrea Meláth, mezzo-soprano
Delta David Gier, conductor
2010 Zemplen Festival
Reformed Church
Sárospatak, Hungary

Soli Deo Gloria commissioned Peter Bannister to write Hermosura de Dio during his 2010 tenure as SDG's Composer-in-Association. The work is a song cycle for soprano, choir and chamber orchestrabased on the poetry of the famous sixteenth-century Spanish mystic Saint Teresa of Avila.

 

“I have been interested in the 16th century Spanish Christian mystics for many years; I discovered the poetry of Teresa largely through my acquaintance with the meditative songs of the Taizé community, not least on account of my close friendship with Dorothy Jones (1927-2009), a US/Canadian French literature professor who, for twenty years, divided her time between North America and France. Dorothy, to whom Hermosura de Dios is dedicated, died last year after a long illness. A postcard with the text of the Taizé song Nada te turbe to words by Teresa of Avila was one of the items that I recall most vividly from the small room in which she lived when in Paris, in which I spent many memorable hours in conversation about all things imaginable.

 

“I continue to be challenged by the Carmelite spirituality expressed so unforgettably in this literature, which stands as testimony to the power of art to evoke what cannot be articulated on the level of discursive logic: a burning, often anguished desire for encounter with the living God of infinite mystery, the Beauty (hermosura) exceeding all earthly beauties.”—Peter Bannister

Bannister’s choice of texts for the five section of the work reflects Teresa of Avila’s burning desire for an encounter with the God of mystery, the Beauty exceeding all earthly beauties:

EN LA CRUZ ESTA LA VIDA: In the Cross is life and joy

LETRILLA: Let nothing disturb you

SEA MI GOZO: Let me find my joy in tears

YA NO DURMAIS: All you who do battle under this banner

OH HERMOSURA: Oh Beauty exceeding all beauties

(English translations by Peter Bannister)

 

 
Delta David Gier conducting a student rehearsal at the Cresendo Summer Institute of the Art  

The premiere of Hermosura de Dios took place in Sárospata at the Zemplen Festival, an annual cultural event that features classical and contemporary music by first-class Hungarian and international musicians. SDG board member David Delta Gier, conductor of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, conducted the Crescendo Summer Institute of the Arts orchestra with Andrea Meláth, mezzo-soprano.

The Crescendo Summer Institute of the Arts takes place every summer, just outside of Budapest, where young musicians from over 25 countries gather for two intensive weeks of classes and rehearsals. The Institute is organized by the Song for the Nations Cultural Foundation, whose aim is to discover talented young artists and strengthen them in their art and faith.

 

 
Peter Bannister and David Gier after the premiere of Bannister's Hermosura de Dios  

One 22-year-old Hungarian student had this to say about the premiere of Hermosa de Dios (even with the odd incident of the electricity going out in the middle of the concert!): “I was amazed . . . I sat back and was soaking in the music. And it could not have had a better closing at the end than the electricity cut off. It was if everything wanted us to calm down. It was fantastic."

 

 

 

 

 

“The piece’s profoundness and melancholy is thought-provoking.”
—Karolin Benkő, on the Crescendo Institute blog

“It was an excellent performance with full house audience and a very focused, intense and rich concert.”—Fruzsina Kovács, for the Crescendo Institute staff