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Newly composed Vespers combines the beauty of sacred music with the thrill of jazz

J-P Mauro - published on 10/28/19

J.J. Wright was inspired to write Vespers for the Immaculate Conception after his wife miscarried at 12 weeks.

Imagine a choir of angels congregating around a trio of jazz musicians, singing in the glorious fashion of Monteverdi over the complex chord patterns and rhythms of Duke Ellington. Well, you don’t have to imagine any more, because that’s just what esteemed composer J.J. Wright has produced for his upcoming release, Vespers for the Immaculate Conception, and from the sound of the video featured above, we’re excited for it.

In 2016, Wright released a monumentally successful Advent and Christmas album, O Emmanuel, which became a classical best seller and enjoyed eight weeks near the top of the Billboard charts. Now, Wright will attempt to bring sacred music back to Billboard, with this new experimental album.

In the press release for the album, Wright explained that he was inspired to write a new Vespers for the Immaculate Conception after his wife miscarried at 12 weeks. The composer poured his grief into the music and deepened his relationship with Mary in the process, of which he said:

“I had no idea how to cope with the grief and disappointment that we were going through, but this confusion led me to pray with the text of the Vespers in a different way than I had before,” said Wright. “Through the liturgical prayer itself, I was given the gift of meeting Mary and Jesus directly in my work, and the music that resulted was a direct expression of a very real sense of knowing that Mary’s parents and Mary herself must have known well the struggles that we were going through as a family.”

The work combines a renowned choir, soloists, a string quartet, and a jazz piano trio all anchored by Gregorian chant and two Baroque motets by Giacomo Carissimi and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The jazz trio will weave around hymns include the Salve Regina, Hail Mary, Our Father, Magnificat, and more.

The Fifth House Ensemble, J.J. Wright Trio and St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir will perform VESPERS FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, December 5, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The concert is expected to run 55 minutes. The album is scheduled for release on November 1, 2019.

Catholic MusicSacred Music
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