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The Sacred Veil

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Year of Composition



Meg Davies

Note from Composer

The Sacred Veil is a new 12-movement work from Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre and poet/lyricist Charles Anthony Silvestri telling a story of life, love and loss. It was premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, in February 2019, conducted by the composer.

Silvestri’s wife, Julie, died of ovarian cancer at age 36 in 2005, leaving two young children. His texts (written collaboratively with Whitacre) and the intimate, compelling score tell a story of courtship, love, loss and the search for solace.

The text for the piece is largely written by Charles Anthony Silvestri but also sets some of Julie’s words from her blogs. Although inspired by this extraordinary and moving friendship, the piece does not mention Julie by name and shares a very human journey –one that so many of us can relate to.

  1. The Veil Opens
  2. In a Dark and Distant Year
  3. Home
  4. Magnetic Poetry
  5. Whenever There Is Birth
  6. I’m Afraid
  7. I am here
  8. Delicious Times
  9. One Last Breath
  10. Dear Friends
  11. You Rise, I Fall
  12. Child of Wonder

Forces: SATB Choir, Solo Cello, Piano

The Sacred Veil was commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, Artistic Director, and co-commissioned by Monash Academy of Performing Arts – MLIVE and NTR ZaterdagMatinee for the Netherlands Radio Choir. The World Premiere was given at Walt Disney Concert Hall on February 16 – 17, 2019 conducted by the composer.

Upcoming Performances

October 25, 2019 – London (UK)
October 26, 2019 – London (UK)
March 6, 2020 – Salt Lake City, UT (USA)
March 28, 2020 – Amsterdam (Netherlands)
April 8, 2020 – Melbourne (Australia)
April 9, 2020 – Melbourne (Australia)

The Sacred Veil is not yet recorded but for now, you can hear an excerpt of one of the movements – I Fall – performed with the LA Master Chorale in June 2017.

In “The Sacred Veil,” Whitacre and the Master Chorale memorably celebrate the precarious beauty of life, offering the welcome consolation of art and a momentary stay against our collective fate.

LA Times

The Sacred Veil may be the single most important musical contribution in our time, perhaps in any time, to a non-religious, as well as non-political — perhaps we might say non-teleological understanding of death and loss. Its length and difficulty may preclude it from inclusion in your average funeral, but to experience it in performance with 40 singers, or perhaps in recorded form, may be transformative for those whose grief, recent or deep-seated, has never completely found closure.