Seventh annual In Memoria to be dedicated to Father T.J. Martinez

October 27, 2015

HOUSTON — On Sunday, Nov. 22, at 3 p.m., the Archdiocesan and Catholic Schools Choirs, along with the St. Laurence Chamber Singers, will present the seventh annual In Memoria concert of sacred music at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located at 1111 St. Joseph Pkwy. in downtown Houston.

This year's program will be dedicated to Father Antonio "T.J." Martinez, SJ, who died Nov. 28, 2014 after a battle with cancer. He was 42. 

Among Father Martinez's many accomplishments during his short life, he is especially remembered as the charismatic, visionary founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory, a high school for students from families who could not otherwise afford this education. The music selected for this concert was specifically chosen in his honor.

Dr. Richard Lopez, associate director of Liturgical music at the Archdiocese, said he got this music after a radio interview in 2009 with St. John Flynn at KUHA. 

"I wanted to find the right reason to use it," Lopez said. 

He said that, after attending Father Martinez's memorial last year, he knew that was the reason he waited so long to use it. 

"When everyone hears this piece, it will make perfect sense," Lopez said. 

The first half of the concert will feature a relatively new work (May 2008) by British composer Howard Goodall. "Eternal Light A Requiem" is a modern Requiem setting, incorporating portions of the traditional "Mass for the Dead" in Latin, juxtaposed with poems in English. 

The composer, Howard Goodall, states, "I did not feel at ease with this approach (traditional Requiem Mass) to the appalling pain of loss and grief, so in an attempt to provide some solace for the living that mourn, I stripped down the old Latin texts to a few phrases in each movement and laid beside them words from English poems from across the last 500 years," including Francis Quarles; Ann Thorp; John Henry Newman attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye; John McCrae; and Phineas Fletcher. 

An offering will be collected during intermission for the Father T.J. Martinez Scholarship Fund benefiting Cristo Rey Jesuit.

The second half of the concert will feature the iconic "Requiem" by Maurice Duruflé.

Durufle's "Requiem" is considered by many to be a masterpiece of the choral orchestral genre from the Mid-20th century. This Requiem is a traditional setting, not unlike those by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi and Hector Berlioz. Duruflé said, "This Requiem is composed entirely of the Gregorian themes of the Mass for the Dead. Sometimes the musical text has been respected in full, the orchestra intervening only to sustain or to comment on it; sometimes I was simply inspired by it or sometimes removed myself from it altogether. Generally, I tried to get the particular style of the Gregorian themes firmly set in my mind."