Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Karel Husa started as both conductor and composer at Wednesday night's Inter-American Music Festival concert at the Kennedy Center.
With the exciting massed voices of the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Conservatory Choir to do his bidding, he brought to Washington the first local performances of this "Te Deum."
The texts come from a variety of poems that elaborate on the Latin Te Deum's focus on majesty, glory and worship, and they are set boldly. Clearly Husa is a master of the materials of his art.
The chorus moves effortlessly from narrator, where every word stands out to sound effects, where the words are merely vehicles for the impression, important only for their sounds and not for their meanings.
The orchestra is manipulated with the same sort of virtuosity, at one instant a romantic singer, at the next part of the scenery.
A ryhthmic strength underlies the whole piece, but there are large sections of free and almost amorphous structure.
Certainly there are places that have been miscalculated. The baritone solos, well sung by Carl Gerbrandt, can't be heard without amplification, and the electronic ingredient in the sound is a jarring effect. The end, with its concurrence of the singing, speaking and playing of bits and pieces of the last three sections, gets messy and unnecessarily complicated.
Nevertheless, this is an interesting and effective piece of music, and one that would be good to hear again.