"Benedicite" in the press

The Spiritus Chamber Choir's premiere of Zachary's Benedicite for chorus and orchestra won universal acclaim from critics:

The most striking piece on the program was the newly commissioned work, Benedicite: A Song of Creation, by choir alumnus Zachary Wadsworth. Now working at Williams College, Wadsworth made an outsized contribution to the musical life of Calgary during the four years he lived here, singing in several choirs, teaching at The University of Calgary, and continuing to compose prolifically. He is still missed.

As an experienced chorister, Wadsworth has an insider’s knowledge of what works and works well as choral writing. His music fully embraces a modern style, but from within a practical knowledge of the extent and limits of amateur performance.

As with Far West, the extended secular cantata that made such a powerful impression when it was performed in Calgary, this new work contains vivid musical ideas and strikingly impressive choral and instrumental textures. Using the same instrumentation as Vivaldi’s Gloria, this new setting of the Benedicte, a text familiar in its English version to all traditionally oriented Anglicans, is set as one, continuous movement. With it, however, there is much contrast in style and pacing, the music evidently alive at every turn.

The Spiritus Chamber Choir clearly relished the task it was given, and rose to the demands of the complex chords, solo passages for the various sections, and the need for powerful, rich choral singing. For a first performance, this was impressive work.
— Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald
Wadsworth’s modernist piece grabbed the audience’s attention from the start with bold strokes of violin bows. Rich choral voices were soon melding with calm, pastoral tones produced by the chamber orchestra (including some members of the RDSO).

Although Wadsworth kept the same D Major key as Vivaldi for his original composition, he chose not to use soloists. Instead the colourful verses were written for the whole choir to perform. But just as in Gloria, Wadsworth’s Benedicte Dominum alternated in mood, from serene to impassioned. And it ended in celebratory style.

The appreciative audience gave Wadsworth a standing ovation.
— Lana Michelin, Red Deer Advocate