APERIO, Music of the Americas, in collaboration with New American Voices, presents a unique multimedia program featuring recent and world premiere works for voice, piano and percussion by American composers David Lang and Shawn Crouch.
The program begins with David Lang’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning oratorio The Little Match Girl Passion. Scored for only four solo voices - soprano, alto, tenor, and bass - with additional percussion played by the vocal ensemble, the music traverses a cathartic experience of suffering and transformation told through Hans Christen Andersen’s fantastically dark children’s tale by the same name.
Considered a pivotal piece in Lang’s recent output, The Little Match Girl Passion signifies an inward looking compositional style that embraces historical precedents such as Bach’s choral works and a capella motets. Washington Post music critic Tim Page described the work as “a pristine and immaculately distilled setting…deeply felt without ever delving into sentimentality, absolutely simple yet leaving nothing out.” Pitchfork Magazine praised The Little Match Girl Passion as “the most profound and resonant work of Lang’s career” describing the music as “breathtakingly spare and icily gorgeous.”
The world premiere of Shawn Crouch’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird acts as a musical and dramatic counterweight to the ethereal sound world of Lang’s oratorio. Featuring the poetry of Wallace Stevens, this new work explores multiple perspectives on the poet’s blackbird motif through a collection of enigmatic haiku-like poems. Crouch’s concept incorporates evocative lighting, live projections, and interactive staging to illuminate the relationship between perspective, repetition, and social dynamics.
The Miami Herald describes Crouch’s music as “staggering… imaginative, powerful, and deeply moving” and Gramophone Magazine praised him as a “gifted young composer.” He is the winner of the 2015 New American Voices Composition Prize which supported the completion of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.
LANG - The Little Match Girl Passion for solo voices and percussion
CROUCH - Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for solo voices, percussion and piano
Tony Boutté, tenor & music director
Amy Petrongelli, soprano
Emily Howes-Heilman, mezzo-soprano
Mark Diamond, baritone
Brian Graiser, percussion
Saule Garcia, piano
$35 General Admission; $25 Senior; $15 Student with valid ID
photo: Lynn Lane