What's up with The Crossing
Stratis Minakakis, composer of Crossings
A new work addressing a world crisis: Stratis Minakakis'
Looking ahead to the October 18th concert, Donald and the composer have some thoughts about what we'll sing:
The following is from Stratis' note to me about the origin of his new work for The Crossing (It's impossible to explain the gratitude that I have to be surrounded by artists with such depth of thought and compassion). To meet the demands of this topic in musical form, Stratis has created a unique language that will be new to our audience and will touch our memories by recalling ancient music and folk traditions - elegant, yet raw.
July 2015, Island of Lesvos, Greece.
We arrive at the island of Lesvos at the same time as the first massive influx of refugees from Syria lands on the Greek shores. Lesvos is the primary destination for the hordes of flimsy inflatable boats, the transportation means of choice of the Turkish smugglers. The number of families with pregnant women or small children that arrive is astonishing. Toddlers younger than my three-year-old daughter, newborns, and their exhausted parents brave the unforgiving heat without food or water as they walk the 60 miles of mountainous terrain that separate our resort town of Methymna from the port of Mytilene. There, they will endure unspeakable hardships for days until a boat chartered by the Greek government, itself collapsing under the uncontrollable financial crisis, transfers them to the port of Pireaus. From there, most will walk for three weeks to reach someplace in Europe, hopefully Germany or Sweden. As I am thinking about this piece, my wife suggests to reread the "Waste Land." The verses "if there were water and no rock" and "who is the third who walks always beside you" seem painfully relevant.
A return to an important commission: Donald's reflection on Gabriel Jackson's According to Seneca
When I asked Gabriel Jackson to set some of Seneca the Younger's words from his plays, Gabriel (typically) went searching about for a more contemporary alternative and found it in this excellent and provocative work by the poet Gustaf Sobin.
...every wind, according to
origins in some deep-
seated stellar configuration.
I read those words and was hooked - they capture exactly the underlying Stoicism that I was looking for in Seneca Sounds, a project of various commissions in which the background structure traces the influence of Seneca, through Shakespeare, and into the literary giants of the 20th century to our own new millennium. According to Gabriel, the commission challenged him to reach new compositional solutions to questions, resulting in some new techniques (both challenging and spectacular!). According to Seneca is a seminal work for The Crossing, revealing to us as an ensemble what heights we can reach expressively and technically - and how direct our music can reach listeners' ears. We returned to this work in Big Sky this past July and now bring it home to celebrate its 4th birthday, as The Crossing celebrates our 10th, with Sobin's words:
wavering blue line of that
tenuous horizon: 'wind,' 'waves,' 'whitecaps'
themselves, meant nothing, whereas nothing, you
knew, without them (burst,
Sunday, October 18, 2015 @ 4 pm
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
Pre-concert talk with Donald at 3pm in Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel
|SONiC: Sounds of a New Century|
The Crossing in NYC: Judd Greenstein's My City premiere with DM Stith and ACO
On Friday, October 16, The Crossing heads to New York to join indie vocalist DM (David) Stith and the American Composers Orchestra for the world premiere of Judd Greenstein's My City, a fantastically energetic interpretation of Walt Whitman's "Mannahatta" and "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." The program also includes world premieres from Angélica Negrón, Andy Akiho, and Alex Mincek with JACK Quartet. The free concert begins at 8:00 pm at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Click here for more info.
crossingchoir.com: A new website to celebrate our 10th birthday! If you haven't already, be sure to check out the new crossingchoir.com, the first stop on the journey that is our anniversary season, with 25 world premieres, concerts in New York, and our largest project to date, Seven Responses. A new look, as we respond, reprise, and renew.
Seven Responses blog
Another new addition to The Crossing's internet persona is the Seven Responses blog, a weekly glimpse into this ambitious journey. Every other week, the blog will be accompanied by content from the many artists with whom we are collaborating. We invite you to join us as the project evolves and the composers' works transform from idea into music. And don't forget to explore the Seven Responses microsite: sevenresponses.com.
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