Philadelphia Orchestra and Davóne Tines premiere “Sermon” music-and-poetry triptych

Posted on: November 12, 2021

“The polished, trenchant bass-baritone [Davóne Tines] swept into town in a string of performances that began with a Philadelphia Orchestra Friday matinee [featuring] ‘Sermon,’ a triptych of pieces, each preceded by poetry, meant to be ‘socially relevant calls to action in the face of horrific violence against marginalized peoples,’ as the program note states,” writes Peter Dobrin in Monday’s (11/8) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Tines’s first outing here with the short song cycle was last season on the orchestra’s Digital Stage series. This time, live in the concert hall … the third piece in the set, a potent excerpt from the Anthony Davis/Thulani Davis opera X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, was preceded by Tines reading not only a Maya Angelou text, but also a new one: ‘EXEGESIS’ by jessica Care moore, and it’s a stunning addition…. The two other sections of the triptych—music by John Adams from El Niño and Vigil by Tines and Igee Dieudonné arranged by Matthew Aucoin—work beautifully, set up by texts by James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. But the directness of moore’s poem with Davis’s music, especially realized by an ensemble of this force and precision, resonates most powerfully.”