The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Choral Society missed a rehearsal earlier this week due to the ice storm. You wouldn’t have known it based on their excellent performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater at the Tennessee Theatre.
I was ready for the music to be sorrowful, describing Mary’s vigil at the foot of the cross. The music was far more beautiful than I expected.
Because my wife sings with the Knoxville Choral Society, we arrived early enough to hear Maestro Lucas Richman’s Friday night pre-concert chat with KCS director Eric Thorson, soprano Natalee McReynolds and tenor Dustin Peterson. On Thursday, Richman interviewed the two other soloists, mezzo Jami Rhodes and bass Benjamin LeClair.
Maestro Richman prepared us for the grief expressed in the music by explaining that Dvořák started writing the piece after the death of one of his children. Two more of his children died before he completed the work. He used the music to express the grief of a parent for their child, although it also contains faith in God and a belief in the resurrection.