SMND Alum Aims to Top Billboard Charts, Again

Author: Mark Doerries

Can sacred music again top the Billboard charts?

Religion News Service

SAN FRANCISCO — Fusing the rich heritage of Catholic sacred music with the tradition of jazz, VESPERS FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: J.J. WRIGHT TRIO; ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL CHOIR; FIFTH HOUSE ENSEMBLE seeks to deliver a profound spiritual experience for listeners — and perhaps make history on the Billboard charts.

Produced by the Grammy Award-winning and Billboard Chart-topping composer, musician and choir director at the University of Notre Dame, J.J. Wright, VESPERS FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is a beautiful recording that brings audiences a new vision of sacred music, one that tells the story of the miraculous origin of Mary.

This new recording follows the critical success of Wright’s Advent and Christmas cantata, O Emmanuel, which quickly became a classical bestseller and spent eight weeks on the Billboard Classical Charts. Born out of the sorrow of Wright’s wife miscarrying their child at 12 weeks, he poured his grief into the music and deepened his relationship with Mary in the process.

“I had no idea how to cope with the grief and disappointment that we were going through, but this confusion led me to pray with the text of the Vespers in a different way than I had before,” said Wright. “Through the liturgical prayer itself, I was given the gift of meeting Mary and Jesus directly in my work, and the music that resulted was a direct expression of a very real sense of knowing that Mary’s parents and Mary herself must have known well the struggles that we were going through as a family.”

Combining a renowned choir, soloists, a string quartet and a jazz piano trio, VESPERS FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is anchored by Gregorian chant and two Baroque motets by Giacomo Carissimi and Marc-Antoine Charpentier, while weaving together scripted and uplifting music for a jazz trio. Hymns include the Salve Regina, Hail Mary, Our Father, Magnificat, and more.

“Wright cites Claudio Monteverdi’s thrilling Vespers of 1610 as his primary inspiration in this work. Monteverdi was peerless in both his church pieces and his popular numbers. He let these notions cross-pollinate at times,” said Jack Walton of the South Bend Tribune.

The Fifth House Ensemble, J.J. Wright Trio and St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir will perform VESPERS FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, Dec. 5 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview with J.J. Wright, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276) or of Carmel Communications.