Self-reflection, soul searching, navel gazing, self-absorption. You name it. Self-examination and psychic DYI repairs are a growth business! The spring program Music Director Bronwyn Kortge has gathered--much as one gathers a mixed bouquet--seeks to explore the dark and light of human nature, both individually and globally. Here is a run-down on this emotional rollercoaster ride with all it's nine peaks and valleys. Hang on and probably not advisable to ride after a full meal!
(NOTE the "Emotional Dissonance Scale" (patent pending) for each piece is included. Scale runs from emotionally stable (1) to totally schizoid! (10))
Lamentations of Jeremiah (Stroope) (5): Seeking darkness and despair? Look no further than the Old Testament and the the destruction of Jerusalem. Wailing, keening, drama--check, check, check! Written as though a Cantor is leading the conrgregants in a synagogue in a wild, wrenching call and response! Not for the faint of heart!
Joy (Hayes) (8): Whiplash baby! The lyrics by Sara Teasedale (whose life story is not exactly uplifting) swing wildly from exuberhance to fulfillment to resignation and to what might be hope. From "I am wild" to "I am loved" to "I can die" to "I live". Pair that with the high-energy music and you got a heady brew of unsustainable euphoria!
There Will Come Soft Rains (Podd) (5): "Suppose they gave a war and noboby came." Remember that nugget from the back in the day? Well, here beautiful, soothing music is again paired with Teasedale lyrics to raise what may be the most significant quesion facing humanity in the 21sth century; Will Nature care when we (humanity) are gone? Guess what? Probably not! Nature was here before us and will probably be here after we fry ourselves or otherwise blindly pursue self-destruction (not to be confused with self-examination or Introspection!)
Dark Night of the Soul (Burns & Ellis) (10): Do you remember what it felt like when you were 15 or 16 or 17? Remember the explosive internal atomic energy you felt as one minute you were on top of the world and the next in the depths of a despair so deep and unfathomable that it made Jeremiah's despair look like amateur hour! Well this secular cantata (which sort of works as a genre identifier) journeys from the most toxic self-loathing, to destruction of the enemy within (your darkest self) and the cathartic liftoff into self-acceptance and peace! Not bad for 15 minutes! This work will knock your socks off with it's percussive beats and counterbeats, dissonances and harmonies! (This gets a 10 on the EDS scale since the first several sections are hands down the most emotionally dark in the entire program but it then moves in a logical upward progression (sort of!).
Deep Peace (Douglas) (1): So maybe there are three big themes in this program: (1) dark and light, (2) flying, and (3) waves (are they themes you ask? sure, why not!). Deep Peace is all about waves and what they represent: ebb and flow, recurrence, pattern, beauty, peace, waves in the ocean, waves in the cosmos, waves in the pulse of our blood! Take a moment to breathe deep and relax. You earned it!
Measure Me Sky (Hagenberg) (5): This one really takes flight! Each line of music seems to soar upwards on wings. It takes you to the mountaintop and beyond, letting you feel the vastness and immeasureable possiblity of existence.
Definitely a positive dub here! (5 cause the euphoria herein is super fragile by nature)
Lux Beata Trinitas (Gjeilo) (4): Flowing musical lines pull in and out but remain ever connected, pouring light into the hearts mere mortals who use this mysterious light to pour forth joy, praise, and hope. Definitely a steady Zen vibe here and the perfect seque into the next piece, also by good ole' Ola!
Luminous Night of the Soul (Gjeilo) (3): This one has it all: dark and light, flying and waves! The text by Silvestri juxtaposes the impenatrable darkness of night with the luminscent glow of human creativity and spirit. Musically, Gjeilo masterfully emeshes the vocal parts, the piano and the orchestration in a way that has each stepping forward and stepping back, like waves moving in and out on the tide line, and sometimes forming crazy cross chop when one voice hits against another. Truly cosmic in scope, above all else, this work reminds us that it is the "spirit of art" that matters most. I can totally get down with that!
Sogno di Volare (Tin) (3): Pair lyrics from Da Vinci's writings with the epic anthem-like music of Christopher Tin and you got a winning combination! "Once you take flight, you decide...man will be lifted by his own creation...filling the universe with wonder and glory!" Ah, the can-do spirit of Renaissance creators! Perhaps the most telling phrase in the lyric is the simple "You decide", not the church, not the state, if you want to take flight, it is your choice! Knowledge is light, ignorance is darkness, let the waves roll on and from the mountaintop of knowledge take flight!