The vocal ensemble Cantus performs "Tango With God" by Ysaye Barnwell, with text by Thomas Merton. Recorded Sept. 17, 2015, in the CPR Performance Studio.

Men’s vocal ensemble Cantus recently asked four contemporary composers to write music about different aspects of love

Composer Ysaye Barnwell

(Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

Ysaye Barnwell, who spent 34 years singing with and composing for a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, wrote one of the pieces. It’s called “Tango With God," and she built the music around a prayer by the monk and poet Thomas Merton. 

It's a haunting text that explores faith and doubt. "I do not see the road ahead of me," Cantus sings. "I cannot know for certain where it will end." 

Cantus performed “Tango With God” in the CPR Performance Studio while the nine-member group visited Denver for a September performance. Watch them sing it above.

And here’s a second performance, also featured on their current concert program “The Four Loves.” Watch Michael McGlynn’s “Ceann dubh dilis,” or “Sweet Dark Head”:

Vocal ensemble Cantus performs "Ceann Dubh Dilis (Sweet Black Head)" By Michael McGlynn. Recorded Sept. 17, 2015, in the CPR Performance Studio.

(Photo: CPR)