< Program Notes - Novena
composer: Nancy Galbraith (2006)
genre: oratorio
vocal quartet (SATB), chamber orchestra,
pre-recorded sounds & recitations
length: 11 movements, 48:00 minutes
movements: (see below)
orchestration: soloists: sop, mz-sop, tn, bs;
3fl(alto), Eng hn, 3cl(bs);
2perc; strings; audio CD
publisher: Subito Music Publishing (ASCAP)
60 Depot Street, Verona, NJ 07044
mail@subitomusic.com • 973-857-3440

world premiere: 29 April 2007 • NOVENA: A Concert for Peace in the Holy Land
Charlene Canty (soprano), Xiu Riu-Lu (mezzo-soprano), Marc Stingley (tenor),
Robert Kurth (bass); Beit Benedict Festival Orchestra, Thomas Octave, conductor
St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, Illinois
sung texts: Traditional, from the Mass • Traditional, from the Horologian
Traditional, from Psalms • Anonymous, att. St. Francis • The Prophet Muhammed
Sophie Stanes*, Linda Jones* (*Catholic Agency for Overseas Development)
recited texts: The Qur'an • Gates of Prayer: New Union Prayer Book • Anonymous, att. St. Francis
program notes: "Novena" was commissioned by Beit Benedict United States, supporters for the Beit Benedict Peace Academy that was to be located at the Dormition Abbey on Mount Sion, Jerusalem, Israel—the project was never completed. The stated mission of the Peace Academy was "to provide to peoples diverse in faith, culture, and nationality, a neutral place in which to be guided in the path of peace through spiritual, cultural and educational programs."
  In the Catholic Church a novena is a nine-day devotion of prayers, often sorrowful or yearning in nature, asking for special graces. In keeping with Beit Benedict's mission in the Middle East, Galbraith's oratorio is a Novena for Peace, one that is traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. The composer has chosen texts that reflect these themes, including prayers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  The work features a quartet of soloists—soprano, alto, tenor, bass— accompanied by a chamber ensemble of woodwinds, strings, piano and percussion. Six of the eleven movements also include prerecorded audio tracks that blend with the live musicians to provide additional layers of timbre and texture. Galbraith's sonic designs make use of primitive flutes and chants, recitations of prayers, animal voices, and unique sounds created in her home studio.
source: nancygalbraith.com
recording: NOVENA: A Concert for Peace in the Holy Land
CD Baby • 2023 • UPC: (pending)
Soloists: Charlene Canty, Xiu Riu-Lu, Marc Stingley, Robert Kurth
Beit Benedict Festival Orchestra; Thomas Octave, conductor


  1. Introduction
2. Prayer of St. Francis
3. God of Mercy
4. Instrumental Interlude
5. Prayers for Peace
6. God of Mercy—Reprise
7. Psalm 133
8. Building for the Future
9. To the Blessed Virgin Mary
10. O God, You Are Peace
11. Interfaith Prayer