Event Description

In their first collaboration celebrating the richness of our natural world, The Santa Fe Symphony and WildEarth Guardians embark on a hope-filled, exploration of our planet! Don’t miss this spectacular performance … celebrating the Earth, our children, and our collective future through the lens of master composer Claude Debussy and his most brilliant orchestral work “La Mer”  with compelling multimedia visuals. In finale, John Rutter’s most magnificent and emotional composition “Mass for the Children” features The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and The Symphony Children’s Ensemble the powerful voices of soprano Carelle Flores and baritone Michael Anthony McGee. Many thanks to Concert Sponsor Descartes Labs, with additional support by the Defenders of Wildlife.


La Mer

   From dawn to noon on the sea
   Play of the waves
   Dialogue of the wind and the sea


Mass of the Children

   Sanctus and Benedictus
   Agnus Dei

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Concert Notes

La Mer
CALUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)

Debussy’s La Mer—“The Sea”—is one of the finest examples of impressionism in music. The composer depicts rich evocations of the ocean using a multitude of orchestral colors and creative and progressive harmonies. The piece has three movements, which Debussy actually refers to as symphony sketches. Each of these sketches paints a picture in sound of a different aspect of ocean life.

The opening movement, “From dawn to noon on the sea,” imitates the maritime moods one might experience during these hours, opening with mysterious sonorities and quickly brightening as the sea comes to life. “Play of the waves,” the second movement, is as quick and nimble as flowing water, the music like an ever-shifting mosaic of color. The finale, “Dialogue of the wind and the sea,” is animated and majestic, capturing the clash of the two elements before the sun shines through the clouds at the finale.

Debussy composed La Mer between 1903 and 1905, completing it in a hotel on the coast of the English Channel. The first performance was in Paris on October 15, 1905.

—Program Note by Dr. David Nelson

Mass of the Children
JOHN RUTTER (1945– )

Mass of the Children was written in response to an invitation to compose a new work for a concert during the American Choral Directors’ Association national convention in New York in February 2003. Rutter’s larger-scale choral works have been relatively few—the Gloria, the Requiem, and the Magnificat are the most often performed—but each one has a distinct character. Mass of the Children represents something new in the composer’s work insofar as it was conceived with an integral role for a children’s choir alongside an adult mixed choir, two soloists, and orchestra. The role of the children’s choir is to add a further dimension to the traditional Latin Mass sung by the adult choir, sometimes commenting, sometimes amplifying the meaning and mood.

The Mass text itself (a Missa Brevis, that is to say a mass without a Credo section) is mainly sung by the adult choir or the soloists. The children sometimes sing the Latin—for example at the Christe eleison, the opening of the Gloria and at the Benedictus—but elsewhere they and the two soloists sing specially chosen English texts which in some way reflect upon or illuminate the Latin. The work opens with two verses from Bishop Thomas Ken’s morning hymn for the Scholars of Winchester College, and it closes with the children singing his evening hymn with Tallis’ timeless melody, as the adults intone the traditional Dona nobis pacem, a prayer for peace. This creates a framework (from waking to sleeping) within which other texts and moods appear in kaleidoscopic succession, like events in a day or landmarks in a life.

—Program Note by John Rutter

& Musicians

Principal Conductor

Guillermo Figueroa

Choral Director

Carmen Flórez-Mansi


The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus

Meet The Composers