The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation featured a review of Seraphic Fire’s recent premiere of “The Hope of Loving.”
“The Hope of Loving,” a fresh, accessible piece accompanying six passages from Daniel Ladinsky’s anthology, “Love Poems from God,” renderings of “sacred voices from the East and West” that fit in well with the musical path trod by Seraphic Fire. Runestad, the composer, sat in the audience. From the sixth-century Sufi poet Rabia to St. Francis of Assisi and Meister Eckhart to St. John of the Cross and Hafiz of Shiraz, the passages were brought to life by Runestad’s honest music, which flowed free of clichés and preconceived ideas. James Bass’ and Sarah Moyer’s splendid voices captured, in their simplicity, the composition’s essentially American roots, while The Sebastians expertly executed the instrumental interlude, “The Heart’s Veil.” It is worth noting that “The Hope of Loving” was not constricted by the text, nor did it resort to conventional mystical pap. Rather, it achieved an enviable balance in which music starred and served to enhance the poetry.