Less than entirely satisfying to a few was the world premiere of Kristin Kuster's Bleed. Said by the composer to describe the mystical-erotic ecstasy of Saint Catherine of Siena, the extremely expressive work is scored for chorus plus string quartet, harp, and percussionist and set to a postmodernist melange of styles from late Stravinsky to early Madonna. While neither the composer's skill and integrity nor the performers' sincerity and dedication can be gainsaid, some audience members were more taken with the work than others: most applauded, though a few sat on their hands. Entirely satisfying was the final work on the program, an arrangement of "Peace Like a River" that the choir performed with surpassing loveliness.
The U-M Chamber Choir is at the UMMA on Wednesday, April 14.
[Originally published in April, 2010.]