Transformational philters in choral music

Concert performance

2 November 2003, 4:00 p.m.
First Baptist Church, 512 East Huron Street
Ann Arbor, MI

No admission charge.


Heinrich Schütz Geistliche Chor-Music (1648)
"Das ist je gewisslich Wahr"
"So fahr ich hin"
"Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock"

Olivier Messiaen Cinq rechants (1948)

William Albright Chichester Mass (1974, 1979)


Andrew Kuster, conductor

Jennifer Goltz, Sara Guttenberg, Grant Harville, Diana Lawrence, Adrian Leskiw, Rebecca Loeb,
Glenn Miller, Sean Panikkar, Devin Provenzano, David Schober, Emily Toronto, Rachel Warrick

Kristin Kuster, rehearsal pianist


Vitriolic language is sharp, caustic, sarcastic, bitter, or biting. This meaning of vitriolic derives from the chemical definition of vitriol as a caustic metal sulfate or sulfuric acid. However, to seventeenth century alchemists, vitriol was a liquid of closely guarded formulation used in obscure experiments to transform lowly elements into the philosopher's stone, an object that gave power to extend life eternally and turn lead to gold. Vitriol was the means to obtain transcendence.

Similarly, music has been a transformational agent for centuries. Plato said as much in his discussion about music's power in the Republic. The biblical tale of David calming Saul with his harp underscored music's transformational power over emotions. Moreover, composers of all nationalities and eras wrote music intended to transform their listeners spiritually, erotically, morally, or politically. Finally, because of their visceral and immediate ability to create musical sounds, musical performers themselves are catalytic agents who, at their best, forever alter the world-view of their audience.