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Posts tagged 'Yale Choral Artists'

Yale Choral Artists Perform Hannah Lash's "Requiem"

The "Western Canon", since its conception in the 19th century, has often aspired to the transcendence of music, drawing secular and "absolute" inspiration from often religious sources—embodied in the revival of figures like J.S. Bach, whose liturgical music joined these two worlds. Johannes Brahms, a major Bach scholar, decided in 1865 to rite a Requiem—a musical form that philologists had traced back to the 13th century (and earlier). But Brahms' Requiem, true to his secular and musical aspirations, was translated from Latin and sung in German, inheriting the text and form from liturgical tradition but attempting to universalize the form by making it secular. 

Hannah Lash echos this interest translation with her most recent work, a Requiem commissioned by Jeffrey Douma to be premiered by the Yale Choral Artists on September 24th in New Haven and September 25th in New York. Lash comments: "the interesting thing about this project is that I have no particular connection to the traditional Requiem text, so I found myself needing to rewrite it in such a way that it could beel more personal and more approachable to me." Lash's work sets texts of her own translation and interpretation, once again bridging the liturgical inheritance of the Requiem form and purpose into a new century of art music. 

Ted Hearne Joins PSNY!

We're thrilled to announce that PSNY now represents several works by the brilliant, powerful, and politically-minded composer Ted Hearne. Active as both a composer and a performer, Hearne's output ranges from his noise-pop duo R We Who R We (with Philip White), to his powerful Katrina Ballads, a song cycle based on primary source texts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as well as dozens of works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and soloists. Hearne now has three works available from PSNY: 

The first is Consent, a powerful piece for 16 voices. This piece illustrates the idea of a "desiring machine": the impulse of desire, "I want you/I want to" becomes the productive force for a swarm of textual and harmonic fragments that illustrate the way one body wants another in the age of late capitalism. The multiplicity of voices enters the listener's brain all at once, as if vocalizing a rapid-fire succession of thoughts coming into being, at once contradictory, disturbing, heart-felt. "All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security"/"it can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back". Hearne mixes text fragments from his own love letters, his father's love letters, the Catholic and Jewish rites of marriage, and text messages used in evidence in the Steubenville Rape trial of 2013. Consent premiered at the 2014 International Festival of Arts and Ideas with Jeffrey Douma leading the Yale Choral Artists:

Next is 
But I Voted for Shirley Chisholm, for 11 instruments and fixed electronics, which was commissioned and premiered by Alan Pierson and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Shirley Chisholm, a congresswoman from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, was the first African-American to run for the President of the United States on a major party ticket, in 1972. Hearne's work recalls lyrics from rapper Biz Markie's 1988 track "Nobody beats the biz:" "Make you co-operate with the rhythm / that is what I give 'em / Reagen is the Prez' but I voted for Shirley Chisholm." Sampling and cutting up Biz Markie's track, Hearne re-purposes and re-imagines this song in an orchestral setting, layering samples over orchestral writing and vice-versa. 

Furtive Movements
for cello and percussion, continues Hearne's explorations of the intersections between politics and music. The phrase "furtive movements" is one of the most commonly used justifications by the New York Police Department for their controversial "stop and frisk" policy, where "suspicious" (or "furtive") individuals are stopped, frisked, and often detained by the police. Hearne argues that this phrase says more about the expectations of the police officer than the guilt of the "suspect;" he writes, "my challenge in writing Furtive Movements was to call [the performers'] assumed identities into question, and to try and blur the lines between their musical roles." Check out a performance of Furtive Movements featuring cellist Ashley Bathgate and percussionist Ron Wiltrout: 

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