Stephen Paulus To Be Certain of the Dawn
Conductor: Osmo Vänskä
Barry Abelson, cantor
Elizabeth Futral, soprano
Christina Baldwin, mezzo-soprano
John Tessier, tenor
Philip Cokorinos, bass-baritone
The Basilica Cathedral Choir
The Cathedral Choristers
BIS CD 1726
To Be Certain of the Dawn
Stephen Paulus, composer
Michael Dennis Browne, librettist
The Minnesota Orchestra, performing under the direction of Osmo Vänskä, premiered Stephen Paulus' Holocaust memorial oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn in 2005. Now this highly moving work is available on a BIS disc.
The piece was originally commissioned by the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis—as a gift to the Jewish community, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the freeing of Holocaust survivors and to help teach an important lesson: the prevention of future genocide is in the hands of today's children.
In creating the work, composer Stephen Paulus and librettist Michael Dennis Browne employed large forces, writing for cantor, soloists, children's chorus, mixed choir and orchestra. Raising eternal questions regarding humanity, tolerance and respect, the powerful oratorio is divided into three sections: Renewal, Remembrance and Visions. It was described by the Star Tribune in 2008 as "a major composition that will take its place amongst the great oratorios."
BIS recorded To Be Certain of the Dawn at Orchestra Hall in February 2008.