Programs
 

16 voices (SATB) and guitar quartet 
Available: January 19-31, 2021

Described by the composer as "an extended meditation on the words of pioneer women of the 19th century." How Little You Are premiered in 2014.  The five-part work, originally scored for chorus and three guitar quartets, has been reimagined in a chamber arrangement by the Dublin Guitar Quartet for The Crossing.

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Drawn from Robert Wilson’s massive productions Einstein on the Beach and the CIVIL warS, these two diverse and mesmerizing sets of musical knee plays are substantial works on their own, serving as a record of the time of their creation. (17 voices, 1 actor)

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A Native Hill is Gavin Bryars’ most substantial work for unaccompanied choir. A concert-length musical essay based on early writings of American author and activist Wendell Berry; what may at first seem pastoral contains a powerful contemporary relevance — a metaphysical and even political force. A Native Hill offers meditations on how life can be experienced, with detailed descriptions of the minutiae of rural existence; as such, simple natural events reveal themselves as metaphors for universal truths. (24 voices)

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Taking its name from Tawnie Olson's work setting poetry of Canadian environmentalist and feminist Emily Carr, the program features the tour de force  mash-up of Shakespeare, contemporary newspapers, and bird songs of Pelle Gudmunsen-Holmgreen, leader of the Danish Simplicity style. (12 voices)

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Motion Studies is based on (Sound from the Bench author) Jena Osman's book of the same name exploring the history of data tracking and how it permeates our lives. Sumptuous Planet expands David Shapiro's musical responses to the writings of evolutionary biologist and ethologist Richard Dawkins; at various times profound, melancholy, or jubilant and always insightful about the human condition. (16 or 24 voices unaccompanied)

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The Arc in the Sky is a setting the poetry of Robert Lax, whose reclusive lifestyle allowed him to create minimalist mediations that explore everything from the spiritual nature of jazz to the simple wisdom of fishermen mending their nets.  Virtuosic and yet immediate, this is Kile Smith's opus magnum. The recording of The Arc in the Sky, released on Navona Records, was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award in Best Choral Performance. (24 voices)

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A look at the world we live in and how we curate it: Gabriel Jackson's settings of poems about the Deepwater Horizon disaster and gun violence, Edie Hill's elegies on birds that have recently gone extinct, and Gavin Bryars' settings of Wendell Berr's contemplations on rural life and a synthesis with the land which feeds us. (24 voices)

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Michael Gordon's new work to premiere in March 2020 is a 60-minute work for 24 voices and solo cello featuring Maya Beiser.

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Robert Convery’s Voyages follows Hart Crane's iconic poem verbatim, capturing Crane’s structure, exploring each poem as a miniature life lived, and focusing on the inherently musical meters of Crane’s dazzling vocabulary. (24 voices)

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Winner of the 2019 GRAMMY Award for Best Choral Performance. An oratorio for tolerance by Lansing McLoskey, on the writings of Wole Soyinka. (24 voices with clarinet and string quartet)

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This program combines David Lang’s enchanting Pulitzer Prize-winning work based on a Hans Christian Andersen short story with short pieces by Andriessen, Jackson, Ešenvalds, Lang, and Hearne from our signature book of commissions, Jeff Quartets. (12 voices)

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Ted Hearne's probing exploration of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision for choir, electric guitars, and drums/percussion. Texts are lifted from Jena Osman's "Corporate Relations," a collection of poems that follows the historical trajectory of corporate personhood in the United States. The five movement combine language taken from landmark Supreme Court cases with words from ventriloquism textbooks and is scored for 24 voices, 2 guitars, and percussion. Sound from the Bench shares a program with three other recent pieces by Hearne that, in the words of The Crossing's conductor, Donald Nally, are “fundamentally about asking questions—questions about the world we live in, about art, and about language and music.”

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Anonymous Man is a concert-length work from Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon, based on conversations he has had over the past few years with homeless men who live on his street in New York City. These conversations are serious, funny, mysterious, poetic, and mundane, and they are with men who have become invisible to the world around them. Anonymous Man is Gordon's attempt to hear them. (24 voices)

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John Luther Adams's concert-length work lauded by the New York Times as a "...hypnotic and ethereally beautiful invocation of wind, sky, and birdsong." (32 voices)

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Julia Wolfe's oratorio for 36 women voices and orchestra was commissioned by The New York Philharmonic and premieres in January 2019 with Jaap van Zweden conducting. The immersive and visual work explores the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 in New York that killed 146 young immigrant workers.

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Musical responses to each of the seven cantatas from Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri were commissioned from Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Caroline Shaw, Santa Ratniece, Lewis Spratlan, David T. Little, Hans Thomalla, Pelle Gudmudsen-Holmgreen. (24 voices with 15 instrumentalists)

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From Eriks Ešenvalds' expansive Northern Lights and Edwin Fissinger's well-beloved Lux Aeterna to Ko Matsushita's intensely rhythmic O Lux beata Trinitas, this program is an aural exploration of light and its effects on us, especially in the darkest and coldest hours of winter. (16 or 24 voices)

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Are we called today to pacifism or activism? What do we protect, the integrity of capitalism or the health of the community? The program features two works written for The Crossing, Joel Puckett’s dizzying, entrancing I enter the earth and Philadelphia composer James Primosch's Housekeeping, an exploration of the balancing effect of desire and longing on our lives on words of Marilynne Robinson. The Crossing's keyboardist John Grecia is featured in additional contemporary choral works by Peteris Vasks and Matthew Brown. (24 voices with piano)

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A legacy project honoring the vision of The Crossing’s co-founder, Jeff Dinsmore, this evening of fifteen short works commissioned by The Crossing in 2016 brings together some of the world's most influential and imaginative composers into a coherent, meaningful journey. (12 or 24 voices)

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David Lang writes: “Hiding in every national anthem is the recognition that we are insecure about our freedoms, that freedom is fragile, and delicate, and easy to lose. Maybe an anthem is a memory informing a kind of prayer, a heartfelt plea:"There was a time when we were forced to live in chains. Please don’t make us live in chains again."

The Crossing’s long association with Lang’s choral writing - through commissions, collaborations and recordings – is heard in a perfect marriage of composer, aesthetic, and ensemble. (24 voices with string quartet)

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