Music, visual art and dance have always been a part of worship.
Last Sunday, the Madeleine Festival returned to spiritual basics as the Nova Quartet and the Repertory Dance Theatre presented "Sanctuary Dances," a solid program filled with moving audio/visual emotion.The Nova Quartet - violinists Ralph Matson and Barbara Scowcroft, violist Roberta Zalkind and cellist Ellen Bridger - set the tone for the evening with Haydn's Quartet in D Minor, Op. 76, No. 2, "Quin-ten."
The naturally reverbed notes resonated off the intricately decorated walls of the cathedral's chapel.
At times, however, the music became a little muddled, but the quartet was not at fault. The musicians played with passion and delivered their performance with accuracy.
Pianist Marjorie Janove spryly played Mozart's Fantasy in C Major and Fugue in C Major as the RDT members - Rebecca Keene Forde, Michael J. Eger, Chara Huckins and Todd Allen - danced Doris Humphrey's "Fantasy and Fugue" celebration.
The music and dancers' leaps and runs made it easy to feel the essence of flight. And when the choreography had to adjust a bit to accommodate the marble altar at the center of the small stage, it made the segment a bit more significant in its praiselike symbolism.
Nova returned with the soothing and sometimes nostalgic selection from Brahams - Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51. The work hushed the already awe-stricken audience and, once more, gave a sense of reverence.
Nova accompanied both of RDT's excerpts from Zvi Gotheiner's affective work "Chairs" with Rachmaninov's Preludes, Op. 23, No. 1 and No. 4, and Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. 59, No. 3.
A small change in the program occurred when Nova took the spotlight and played the second movement of Britten's String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25. Instead of the original Andante Calmo choice, the quartet played the more vigorating Allegretto.
That made the closing segment - the Nova playing Britten's String Qurtet No. 1, Op. 2 Molto Vivance as RDT danced its praise - a fitting end to an already beautiful program.
The calibre of RDT and Nova only prove, once again, the quality of artists that reside in the area. The combined talents of these two factions, as great as they are, only give a glimpse of what the state has to offer.