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Kentucky Symphony Crosses River for "Touched by an Angel" at Landmark Church

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra offers an appropriate theme for its Nov. 20 concert at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati: Touched by an Angel.

The KSO will explore sacred and liturgical music, uncover historical contexts, and debut an area premiere, collaborating with the Cathedral’s professional choir, led by Anthony DiCello, for a sacred program spanning 400 years.

“The architecture of St. Peter in Chains’s Cathedral allows the Symphony to offer Giovanni Gabrieli’s 17th century poly-choral works with groups of KSO brass players in the lofts to either side of the altar,” says KSO Music Director James Cassidy. “The 20th century may have given us stereo and quadraphonic audio sound, but it was already happening between the 16th and 17th centuries in Venice.”

DiCello will lead the Cathedral Choir in two Gabrieli sacred works In Ecclesiis and Magnificat a 8 accompanied by members of the KSO. Four different canzonas, for two to three separate brass choirs, will be interspersed throughout the first half of the program.

After intermission the program leaps ahead four centuries for a regional premiere of 35-year old Norwegian composer Kim Andre Arnesen’s serene and poignant Magnificat for solo soprano, choir, strings, organ and piano.

Commissioned by the Nidaros Cathedral Girls´ Choir in Trondheim, Norway, their premiere recording was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award. Arnesen describes his Magnificat as a song of praise recounting the angel Gabriel visiting Mary with the message that she will be the mother of God’s son:

“God has a heart for the poor, and when God chose a poor woman to be the mother of his Son, it says something about a bottom-up view of the world. My Magnificat is therefore a prayer for the sick, the poor, a song for help and hope for those who are struggling.”

Touched by an Angel, 3 p.m. Nov. 20, St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 325 W. 8th St., downtown Cincinnati. . Reserved seating $19, $27, $35 (children and students ages 6-18 half-price)., 859-431-6216 and at the door.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts