Tonight’s Night Song on Garden St featured Beneficia Lucis, an ensemble of men, directed by James Busby. Night Song is a recurring event held at the First Church in Cambridge, meant to be a non-denominational invitation to join in listening and reflecting.
The church, laden with copious amounts of incense, set the tone for the night as Busby’s men entered the chapel in an opening song. Beneficia Lucis performed Reinaissance sacred motets, dotted by modern chant set by one of the ensemble’s members, Daryl Bichel. The interpretation and sound world that Beneficia Lucis created for its audience was utterly impeccable and gut-wrenching, a particular highlight of the hour being William Byrd’s Domine exaudi orationem.
This performance was a demonstration of reflection, restraint, and respect for music. The lack of applause between groups and before or after the performance was refreshing, leaving the listener to think about the music between each piece rather than be blasted by thunderous applause. The performance style left the listener to his or her own thoughts, alone with the music and whatever he or she chose to believe along with it.
Night Song’s page describes itself as “An hour of contemplative music, providing a setting for meditation, for comfort and strength, and for moments of clarity, in the complex world we live in.”
Night Song occurs every Sunday at 7:30 pm in the First Church in Cambridge on 11 Garden St near Harvard Square. Admission is free and open to the public, though donations are appreciated.