Program Notes: Ben Bolt-Martin, Jill Evans, Keenan Reimer-Watts
“…the love which from our birth over and around us lies.”
This earth is not merely geography… a place to stand, or occasionally sit, where we park our wheelbarrows and water the flowers. It is not a location or an address to which we came on a visit or to which we moved.
It is our parent, the mother that birthed us, the garden that grew us, the canvas upon which we were painted into being. We are the daily manifestation of this dream that sustains us, this story that tells us, this song that sings us. Every molecule in us has at one point been a part of the soil, the air and the water that sustain us. We are made from the Earth on which we stand, a heritage we share with every creature living and once living on the planet we call home.
Tonight, knowing what we know about the world, our place in it and our power over it, we celebrate the Earth’s beauty with joy and with tears, with hope and with fear.
HUMBA NATHI (COME WALK WITH US)
South African Traditional song – translated by Gerhard Cartford.
Soloist: Christy Baker
GLORIA is part of John Rutter’s 17 minute work in three movements. It was commissioned by The Voices of Mel Olson and was first performed on May 5, 1974, in Omaha, Nebraska, under the composer’s direction.
BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY NO. 6 “Pastorale”; Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony was written concurrently with his Fifth. Where the Fifth was inwardly focussed, narrating the individual’s struggle for social redemption, the Sixth portrays an outward, optimistic place for the individual and indeed all humanity within the welcoming arms of nature. The first movement portrays the calm and peaceful feelings of the composer upon arriving in the countryside. Through folk elements and non-cadential harmony, he delved presciently into the world of musical impressionism which would eventually be embraced by the French masters. In the fourth and fifth movements, we are left with the feeling that, even in the midst of storm, nature is still, at it’s essence, nurturing and welcoming.
I DREAMED OF RAIN. Jan Garrett, a resident of Colorado, wrote this song as a result of dreams she had during the wildfire season in 2002.
THE HEAVENS ARE TELLING is part of Joseph Haydn’s large oratorio The Creation. This work was written between 1796 and 1798. It is considered by many to be his masterpiece. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis and in Paradise Lost.
Soloists: Gabriel- Helen Schroeder; Uriel- Stewart Smith; Raphael – Rick Bolhuis
AFTER THE GOLD RUSH. Elements of Neil Young’s album After the Gold Rush, including the song of the same name, were intended to be part of the sound track for a screenplay written by Dean Stockwell for his friend Dennis Hopper for an “End of the World” movie. This song draws a dark parallel between the journey from optimism to despair in the human imagination and the eventual decline of the planet, envisioning a future wherein the human race must leave the planet to survive.
AS BODY explores the metaphor of the Earth as a body. It explores the atrocities done to the planet
(desertification, resource extraction, ivory poaching, deforestation, etc.) through the perspective of a single organism that we can empathize with.
As musicians it is interesting to consider our connection to the planet as our instruments are made of minerals, trees, horse hair, petroleum, and our scores are printed on trees. As we witness the silencing of the orchestra of the natural world, our human orchestras have a responsibility to uplift and draw attention to these voices.
Toward the end, the musicians tap a steady pulse to signify the Earth’s heartbeat, and audience members are encouraged to join in the collective responsibility of keeping it strong. This is a moment to reflect on our relationship with, and commitment to the planet we call home.
The arrangement is based on Erso’s 2019 recording, which can be found at erso-music.com.
GLOW was written for the World of Color Honor Choir as part of the World of Color – Winter Dreams show which premiered at Disney California Adventure Park in 2013.
CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR is part of Frostiana: Seven Country Songs – all Robert Frost poems set to music by his good friend, Randall Thompson.