Michael John Trotta’s passion setting, Seven Last Words, was commissioned through the efforts of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. It is set for SATB choir and soloists, with a full symphonic version available. Churches of modest means will be particularly interested, however, in the chamber orchestration.
"Trotta’s Seven Last Words repeatedly uses two musical motifs to achieve a remarkable degree of compositional unity. The first is a combination of two ascending intervals, a perfect fith and a second higher (usually a minor second but sometimes major), and the second is four notes in a descending scalar passage. This article introduces readers to this new work by examining each movement in turn and by discussing salient musical excerpts from the score, pointing out the frequent uses of these unifying motifs.”
The lyrical verses prompted the composer to summon equally lyrical musical responses, with appealing melodic lines, tender harmonies and a palette of glowing vocal and instrumental colors. The American composer Michael John Trotta has concentrated on choral music for most of his career. The newest disc devoted to his works offers both secular and sacred fare. Its title, ‘For a Breath of Ecstasy,’ is a line from one of the seven Sara Teasdale poems Trotta has set for choir, oboe and string quartet. The poems come from an extensive Teasdale collection, Love Songs, that won her the first Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1918.
Veni, Veni Emmanuel is a fascinating, infectious setting... effectively carries out that dialogue between the ancient Latin chant and the modern listener. The summer may as well be Advent and Christmas for the church musician, and Michael John Trotta’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel explodes on the listener with modern twenty-first- century suspended harmonies and hip-hop inspired percussion rhythms to create a fascinating, infectious setting for these ancient and beloved Advent antiphons.
Response to the concert and recording have also been hugely positive. Choral Scholar called it “a significant achievement, a worthy participant in the choral tradition, and a welcome contribution to the literature,” while Fanfare magazine called it “a monumental, poignant retelling. . .The seven-movement work has a sweep and grandeur at the same time that it achieves a quiet, deeply emotional intimacy. As in all of Trotta’s choral writing, there is a strong sense of archietecture combined with drama, an arresting command of thematic material and melody, and a haunting layer of mysticism that etches the work into memory.”
In his famous Poetics of Music of 1939, Stravinsky observes, “A real tradition is not the relic of a past that is irretrievably gone; it is a living force that animates and informs the present.” Michael J. Trotta’s Seven Last Words is a work solidly grounded in tradition, yet incorporates a musical language that, in George Gershwin’s words, “informs the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time. The dynamic interplay of time-honored musical gestures with present-day sonorities is present at the outset of the piece."
Passion and persistence lead VWC choir to one of the world’s most prestigious venues By Stephanie Smaglo It’s a bright spring morning in Midtown Manhattan. Sunlight pours through the towering structures overhead, sidewalks are alive with activity, an [...]
There is something remarkably reassuring about the warmth of Michael John Trotta’s devotional music. Born in 1978, Trotta obtained a Doctorate in choral conducting from Louisiana State University, and there is certainly no doubting his expertise when [...]
CD Review: Mystical Voices, The Choral Music of Michael John Trotta Review by John Campbell, Artsong Update Dr. Michael John Trotta (b.1978) is currently director of choral activities and assistant professor at Virginia Wesleyan College, holding the [...]
This debut recording by choral composer and conductor Michael John Trotta presents an inspiring introduction to his music, which explores the many facets of spirituality in an idiom that is at once ancient and modern. The 17 tracks on the recording, [...]
Interview in Fanfare Magazine “Creating New Voices and Expanding Conduits for Choral Music” (May 2015)
Michael John Trotta has had a busy and adventurous year. The 38-year-old composer has just released his debut recording, Mystical Voices , with 17 of his choral compositions, and he is poised to launch a new online digital music publishing venture wi [...]