"Music director Mary Beekman and her 26 skilled singers are a splendid ensemble, true in pitch in a cappella music, nicely blended and impressively accurate..." - The Boston Globe
Musica Sacra featured on WGBH
"In a recent concert at First Church Congregtional in Cambridge, MA, vocal ensemble Musica Sacra sang folk hymns and canticles from two regions that, at first blush, don't seem to have a whole lot to do with one another: England and Estonia. But, as they proved over the course of the concert, both countries have rich choral traditions that complement each other beautifully." — WGBH Boston
Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610: Musica Sacra Celebrates a Genius
"Mary Beekman began her 40th season with Musica Sacra this weekend with a contemplative, orchestrally rich Monteverdi Vespers. Her 31-voice choir, augmented with two guest basses and six soloists, sang largely hashed and changed positions for works featuring a long unison cantus firmus melodies or double choir (like the Nisi Dominus movement). The choir presented a well-unified, finely blended tone throughout, with clear, lightly declaimed Latin text and restrained dynamic contrasts in the five psalm settings." — Laura Stanfield Prichard, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"The Joke's on..."
"Last Saturday in First Church Cambridge the ensemble ended its season with a surprising—but delightful—about-face..." — Steven Ledbetter, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"Bach Mass is B minor"
Musica Sacra astonishes "with their polished, unearthly beauty." — Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"Vocal ensemble, Musica Sacra, performs Bach in Gloucester"
"Musica Sacra director Mary Beekman doesn’t mince words: 'Bach is my guy,' she says. 'I consider him the paragon of composers. The B Minor Mass is an incredible example of musical genius, of humanity and of faith.'" — Keith Powers, Cape Ann Beacon
"This most unusual concert was musically and spiritually moving from beginning to end. You can rely on Musica Sacra for beautifully blended singing of extraordinary repertoire." — Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"To Sleep, Perchance to Dream"
"Beekman knows how to program, and her chorus knows how to bring the music and the texts to life. Musica Sacra always impresses, surprises, and delights." — Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"...this choral group and Artistic Director Mary Beekman are among Boston’s very best." — Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"St. Matthew Passion" with The Boston Cecilia
"'St. Matthew Passion' soars" — Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe
"Love, Lust, and Laudations"
"'Beekman, to be congratulated on her varied and unhackneyed program within a single geographical focus, elicits sweet, unforced tone and precise intonation from her singers, flexible phrasing and a supple sense of line, and tempos that seem just right." — Virginia Newes The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Music of Solace"
"The volunteer group (and its audience) are fortunate in their skilled and inspired leader, whose choice of repertory and overall musicality bring out the best in these dedicated singers." — Virginia Newes The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Never having heard this jaw-droppingly good chorus before, I was astonished by the sheer beauty of their voices..." — Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer
"I think it's clear from these selections that Ms. Beekman has superb taste, but it's also an eclectic taste in formal terms, and so the concert ran the gamut from Elgar to Mäntyjärvi." — Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review
"The Spirit is Still Speaking"
"The chorus's full involvement truly made this moment like 'the trumpet call on the day of resurrection, waking the dead from the earth."
"Musica Sacra, as directed by Mary Beekman, demonstrates a host of musical virtues: minimal vibrato, allowing fine blend and clear harmonies; excellent intonation; superb dynamic control; precise rhythm; complete mastery of music and words, permitting singers to be in very frequent eye-contact with the conductor which in turn allows her considerable flexibility; and full awareness of the text and effective communication of it to the audience. ...It's not every concert that I leave hoping to hear every piece on the program again." - Geoffrey Wieting, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Now in completing its fiftieth year, it's this type of programming that is educational both to audience member and musician alike—a challenging program to perform, certainly, conductor Mary Beekman's musical choices also pushed the limits of the audience's imagination and conception of what contemporary choral music is and can be." — Sudeep Agarwala, The Tech (MIT)
November 11, 2009
Before, Brahms, and Beyond reviewed
The Boston Music Intelligencer's Steven Ledbetter has written a lovely review of Musica Sacra's 50th anniversary performance of November 8. "[T]he singers shaped their lines with superb attention to the composer's demands with regard to swelling crescendos and diminuendos, which can look finicky on the page, but which bring the phrases vividly to life when presented as naturally as they were here."
November 6, 2009
Mary Beekman interviewed in The Boston Globe
Musica Sacra director Mary Beekman was interviewed by the Globe in recognition of her 30th season with Musica Sacra, which commences November 8 at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music.
Boston Globe Reviews Musica Sacra's performance, "In Music is Such Art: Choral Music with Texts from Shakespeare."
"Music director Mary Beekman and her 26 skilled singers are a splendid ensemble, true in pitch in a cappella music, nicely blended and impressively accurate in difficult passages and subtle dissonances. The sopranos (all women) make as beautiful a boy-soprano sound as can be heard this side of King's College, Cambridge." — David Perkins
January 12, 2008
Mary Beekman on Public Radio's Weekend America
Mary Beekman was a featured guest on Weekend America on January 12. Visit the American Public Media Web site for full details.
Boston Globe Reviews Musica Sacra's performance, "Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be: Renaissance Madrigals Celebrating Love."
"The chorus's pure timbre was built on quiet, focused vowels that bloomed into full resonance, echoing artistic director Mary Beekman's conducting style—she often seemed to be pulling notes from the singers like taffy. The result was a wonderful balance, each chord shaped with sure intonation.... [T]he Italian repertoire ... packed its drama into the harmony; Biagio Tomasi's "Tirsi morir volea," with near-Wagnerian waves of sound, was particularly beautiful."
Musica Sacra Welcomes New Executive Director, Anne Riesenfeld
We are thrilled and honored to welcome our new Executive Director, Anne Riesenfeld. Ms. Riesenfeld, a professional singer who has performed with Boston Baroque, among other groups, was previously the Executive Director of The New School of Music. Effective September 2005, she will oversee Musica Sacra's administrative and fundraising activities. Look for Anne at our concerts and e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Musica Sacra is on iTunes!
After many weeks of waiting, Musica Sacra is officially available on iTunes! Both of our CD recordings, Love, Lust, and Laudations: Flemish Choral Music of the High Renaissance and Welcome Yule!, are available as digital downloads. CDBaby, our digital distributor, has made our music available online through other outlets as well.
Boston Globe Reviews Musica Sacra's performance, "Christmas Music for Chorus and Brass," featuring the Boston première of Gregg Smith's A Mary Trilogy
"Musica Sacra has achieved an elevated musical standard over a wide range of repertory from the Renaissance to the present... [The Smith was] confident and expressive. Beekman had trained the singers well: the tonal quality was pure and balanced; ensemble discipline was precise; intonation was exact; diction, clear. The technical challenges of the Smith work and of Gabrieli's "Magnificat" were resolutely met. And the aural halo that surrounded the performances was appropriate to the music and to the season." (December 2004)
Love, Lust, and Laudations recording is reviewed by online merchant CDBaby.com
"With crystalline-clear tone, this exceptional a cappella chorus recreates the most beautiful masterpieces of the Flemish renaissance period. Like wafts of smoke floating and drifing through still air, their lines weave beautiful, circular shapes of closed and open harmony. A ghostly and angelic album."
Musica Sacra Patron Pens Sonnet Following Performance
Rand Peabody, a faithful and thoughtful Musica Sacra supporter, penned a sonnet while attending our performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Motets on March 15, 2003. With his blessing, here is the lovely poem he wrote while listening to Bach's Komm, Jesu, komm and Singet dem Herrn.
- So let the ecstasy arise anew,
- Dislodge us from too long-accustomed place
- And lift us on its wings, our souls imbue
- With glowing artistries of time and space.
- Let flows of colors blend in rainbowed hue
- And webs of meaning chaos' etchings trace.
- Yea, bring us to the gate, nay, bring us through!
- Lest we should languish longer, lacking grace.
- Thus make us members of the raptured crew
- And fold us into cosmic love's embrace.
- Like mothers heed the cries of those born new,
- Come! Brighten night and greet us face-to-face.
- Exert your strength and bear us forth today.
- For otherwise we surely die away.
We offer our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Peabody for sharing his work with us.
Boston Globe Reviews Musica Sacra's Performance of Mozart's Requiem
"Musica Sacra breathes freshness, fire into Requiem." (October 2002)
Cambridge Chronicle Reviews Mozart Requiem Performance
"Musica Sacra pays homage to Mozart's Requiem." (October 2002)