Isolation, Creation, Transcendence

(Jan 2013)
La nuit étoilée (1889), Vincent van Gogh

Edvard Grieg was the musical champion of Norway, but he had few competitors. Arnold Schönberg sought to find a new aesthetic and artistic impulse, so deliberately broke away from the late-Romantic syntax of rich harmonies and flowing melodies. The poetry of Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs uses the musings of Irish medieval monks – from the odd to the profound, they bear the marks of those whose sentiment was not guided by the goal of comprehensibility. The language of Barber’s Nuvoletta which sets slivers of James Joyce’s final work Finnegans Wake (1938) is also inward-facing, written in the slippery language of the unconscious. Ludwig van Beethoven’s deafness was a misfortune made greater by the resulting crisis of identity as a musician and his withdrawal from society.

Whether by circumstance or by choice, whether separated or severed, these men performed the very human act of creating in an environment of limited human intervention. For some, this quieting of outside influences resulted in work that reached beyond their own world into another. As Friedrich Schiller’s An die Freude – used as the text in Beethoven’s last symphony – entreats us to look up and hope in something outside of our scope, perhaps it was this fading of a present light that allowed their discovery of another: Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt! Über Sternen muß er wohnen. (Seek him above the starry canopy!  He must be dwelling above the stars.)

Saturday, January 12th, 2013 @ 7 p.m.

Greenwich House Music

46 Barrow Street

Tickets @ door (cash only): $15 general, $10 students/seniors

A program of songs and solo piano music from Edvard Grieg, Arnold Schönberg, Samuel Barber, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Adrienne Pardee, soprano; Suna Chung, piano

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