Come Hear The Ecstasies Above!

Readers, if you are in the Boston area on November 22, come and hear my choir, the Metropolitan Chorale, under the direction of Lisa Graham, present The Ecstasies Above, featuring music of the 20th and 21st centuries that explores the theme of music and the natural world. The two big pieces are Tarik O’Regan’s The Ecstasies Above and Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year. We’ll also be singing Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music and John David’s You Are the New Day.

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe. Credit: Wikipedia

The O’Regan piece is particularly timely because it’s a setting of Israfel, the poem by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was born in Boston, but he was one of the great literary enemies of Emerson and the Transcendentalists, and so he never liked Boston or its literary establishment, and Boston has never properly recognized Poe, until now. Within the past few weeks, the city unveiled a statue of Poe on the Common, striding next to a raven. So there is no better time than this concert to celebrate Poe set to music in his own city.

I really like the other big piece, The Passing of the Year, a song cycle that includes a setting of Answer July, by another Massachusetts poet, Emily Dickenson. The cycle opens with a line from Blake’s Songs of Experience: O Earth, O Earth, return! We get spring (Blake again: “The narrow bud opens her beauties to the sun”), summer (Dickenson), fall (more Blake—who doesn’t love Blake?—”Ah, Sun-flower! weary of time”, and Nashe’s “Adieu! Farewell earth’s bliss!”), and winter (Tennyson: “Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, / The flying cloud, the frosty light: / The year is dying in the night; / Ring out, wild bells, and let him die”). So as you can tell, it’s pretty hot stuff.

What: The Ecstasies Above
When: November 22, 2014, at 8 p.m.
Where: All Saint’s Parish, 1773 Beacon St., Brookline
Who: The Metropolitan Chorale, under the direction of Lisa Graham
Why: The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Tickets: Available at the door, or you can buy them from me

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