Glory and Praise

Saturday, November 18, 2023 • 8:00pm

Leonard Bernstein:  Chichester Psalms

Francis Poulenc:  Gloria

Salomon Sulzer:  Psalm 111
César Franck:  Psalm 150 

Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano; Leo Balkovetz, tenor; Susan DeSelms, organist
with organ, harp, percussion, and bass
A Commonwealth Composer concert


With texts from the Psalms, our first concert features compositions that weave together themes of glory and praise, inspired by religious faith or a desire to praise a royal patron.

Leonard Bernstein and Francis Poulenc, two of the 20th century’s best known composers, have local connections. Bernstein was born in Lawrence, MA and his early music education was at New England Conservatory and Harvard University. Poulenc’s Gloria was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1961, a few years before Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Bernstein and Poulenc both drew inspiration from jazz and popular music. Bernstein's Psalms offer a vibrant fusion of Hebrew scripture and modern melodies, while Poulenc's Gloria offers a contrasting yet harmonious exploration of faith and exuberance. Both pieces are modern expressions of a long-established source for choral music inspiration, as exemplified by the two 19th century pieces on this program: Salomon Sulzer’s Psalm 111 and César Franck’s Psalm 150.

Sulzer’s Psalm 111 composition strongly reflects the elegant musical influences of his Viennese milieu, using the Psalm text to celebrate a royal patron’s birthday. Franck’s Psalm 150, a call to praise God in music, is one of his later works and features bold harmonies and chromatism. As it mentions nine types of instruments, Psalm 150 is also called "the musicians' psalm”. 

Join us as we share with you the enduring role of ancient sacred texts, when combined with the expressiveness of human voices, to enable human expression of praise and spiritual transcendence.


Church of the Holy Name
1689 Centre Street
West Roxbury, MA

Featured Artists


Sonja DuToit Tengblad

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Leo Balkovetz

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Susan DeSelms