MUSIC REVIEW WHEN: Saturday night WHERE: St. James Cathedral Opus 7′s performance at St. James Cathedral Saturday night was in perfect harmony with the visit of the Dalai Lama. Thoughtfully designed and titled “Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” the program drew on works that explored aspects of peace and reconciliation. Cumulatively through the performance, they built a powerful, moving message. Thankfulness for peace after war is the theme of Brahms’ “Unsere Vaeter hofften auf dich,” while Rheinberger’s “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei” express the yearning for calm by those in turmoil. Contemporary composer Jeffrey Van’s “The Beatitudes” has a promising structure, but the whole becomes too sprawly, and his angular harmonies don’t lend themselves to a peaceful ambience. Charles Ives, whose name is synonymous with unusual harmonies, creates a surprisingly pure, calm atmosphere in “Serenity.” French 20th-century composer Pierre Villette’s “Attende, Domine” asks for forgiveness, ending in resolution and hard-won peace of mind. Setting the words of the “Agnus Dei” to Elgar’s stately “Nimrod” from the “Enigma” Variations, David Giardiniere’s arrangement is straightforward and successful. Directed by Loren Pontén, Opus 7′s excellent performances of these varied and often demanding works were the herald to the main works of the evening, Benjamin Britten’s “Cantata Misericordium” and Vasks’ “Dona nobis pacem.” The Britten, dedicated to the Red Cross, is the part of the program that most closely related to the Dalai Lama’s purpose here. “Cantata Misericordium” tells the story of the good Samaritan, the person who with compassion helps a robbed, wounded man from a different background, after two of the victim’s compatriots refuse aid. Accompanied by orchestra, with the chorus as narrator, tenor soloist Howard Fankhauser as Samaritan and baritone Charles Robert Stephens as victim, Opus 7 gave a stirring performance. Stephens, particularly, brought out the emotions inherent in story and music. Vask’s “Dona nobis pacem” is tranquil, almost chantlike in the voices, with string and harp accompaniment. It’s a plea for peace as the only way to begin to restore ecological destruction. The program notes describe it as a searingly beautiful meditation. Indeed it was.