Knight: Of Perpetual Solace Premieres

Edward Knight

On May 16, 2021, Edward Knight’s new choral and orchestral work Of Perpetual Solace premieres, sung by the Oklahoma City-based choral ensemble Canterbury Voices.

Of Perpetual Solace features texts by librettist and visual artist M.J. Alexander. Described as a poetic and lyrical reflection on remembrance, resilience, and hope, Knight’s 45-minute work was commissioned in 2018 by Canterbury Voices in celebration of the ensemble’s 50th anniversary. Presented in partnership with the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, the work commemorates the 25th anniversary of the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building which claimed 168 lives. Canterbury Voices artistic director Randi Von Ellefson will lead the concert, which will also feature guest cantor Lisa Reagan Love and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, in a hybrid, live-and-taped, socially distanced multimedia event featuring 176 performers in Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall. The concert will be internationally live-streamed, and will be available online from May 23 – June 30.

“I feel I’ve been preparing my entire life to write this music,” Knight shares. “Of Perpetual Solace chronicles the quest to find comfort: the easing of grief, the pursuit of love, the relief of pain, the lessening of loneliness. It has been years in the making, and demanded that I tap deep into our shared human spirit to bring out the essence of what is good and important and lasting.” Canterbury Voices executive director Pam Mowry adds, “It is an epic work that has a profound meaning to so many of us. It was written by Oklahomans for Oklahomans, and offered to all who have dealt with grief, mourning, and recovery…[Knight’s score] creates an ethereal sound world of remembrance and reflection, encompassing a storm of emotions and pulse of time representing a quarter-century of healing.”

MJ Alexander, librettist

Of Perpetual Solace was originally scheduled to premiere in March 2020; however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled for spring 2021. While the original vision for this concert included 300 participating musicians, this production is a reduced version that features recorded audio in independent layers: Canterbury’s 64-voice large chorus and 18-voice chamber ensemble, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s 51-piece orchestra, a 47-voice children’s chorus, and soloist. After mastering, Canterbury Voices filmed various musical elements on the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and on the Civic Center Music Hall stage.

For complete concert and streaming details, visit Canterbury Voices.