Two song cycles by Ned Rorem (USA) and Ian Wilson (Ireland)
Julie Comparini – mezzo-soprano, Yonit Kosovske – piano
Featuring photo projections by media artist Piet Wessing
Poems of Love and the Rain is a thirty-minute song cycle by Ned Rorem (b.1923–). In this cycle, Rorem takes us on a round-trip poetic journey by way of a palindrome, featuring texts by poets such as W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roethke, Jack Larson, e.e. cummings, and others. Rorem writes:
I selected poems by several American authors and set each one to music twice, in as contrasting a manner as possible. None of the music is repeated, although there is one recurring motive throughout. And the order chosen for these seventeen songs is 'pyramidal': the sequence works toward the Interlude, then backtracks, as in a mirror." He also says that his choice of poems "deal principally with requited love against a backdrop of constant rain," and adds, "The cycle tells no story per se; it seeks rather to sustain a uniform mood with as much variety as the terms of this mood permit, with an occasional flash of light through the black cloud... if a poem is 'good' there is more than one way of musicalizing it.
Games, by Ian Wilson, is a thirty-minute song cycle on texts by Vasko Popa (1922–1991), one of Serbia's (formerly Yugoslavia) greatest poets. Popa fought as a Partisan during World War II and spent time imprisoned in a German concentration camp. Long after the war ended, Popa's poem cycle Games was published in 1965 as part of his collection "Unrest-Field." Ian Wilson's song cycle, premiered in 2004, reflects on these poems, to which he felt inspired to set to music. Wilson writes:
To me, these surrealist texts, superficially about strange and uncomfortable games, are very likely a way of processing and reflecting on his war-time experiences.
The projected photographs by media artist Piet Wessing (Essen, Germany) provide a stage setting for the songs. In his collection "Inferno", Wessing explores the fascination with scenes of horror that has been one feature of Western art since the MIddle Ages. His work features collage techniques similar to the sampling techniques of modern music, using images from historical paintings, film scenes, and press and documentary photography.
Piet Wessing and composer Ian Wilson will be attending the concert. A production of the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen with the support of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Friday, September 11, 2015, 8:00 pm
Concert Hall, Music Department, Hochschule für Künste Bremen
Dechanatstraße 13-15, 28195 Bremen