AUREA ENSEMBLE PRESENTS a concert celebrating the ideals of democracy and equality
What happens when artists meet at the margins of their disciplines and push the boundaries back and forth? What happens is AUREA, a performance ensemble engaged in a joyful quest to investigate and reinvigorate the harmony of music and speech.
Aurea set, one of New England’s most original and extraordinary chamber ensembles, presents its second concert of the season, I HEAR AMERICA SINGING, Saturday, September 24 at 8:00 p.m., St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 50 Park Place , Pawtucket, RI. This concert will feature Aurea’s signature lineup, which immerses audiences in poetry and prose, unique harmonica improvisations and chamber music.
I HEAR AMERICA SINGING celebrates the ever-evolving ideals of democracy and simultaneously honors walt whitmannthe 2019 Bicentennial and the 2020 Centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Along with selected passages of Whitman’s groundbreaking poetry and prose, this performance includes lyrics by Langston Hughesinterspersed with music by Dvorak, Amy Beach, Aaron Copland, george walkerCharles Ives, Florence Prizeand a recent chamber opera by contemporary composer Francine Trester.
The first half of the program draws on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and other writings that reflect his eclectic musical sensibility and vision of American democracy in the face of Civil War. The second half develops Whitman’s aesthetic and democratic vision and also illuminates Florence Prize‘s life and music (1888-1953), featuring some of his music for string quartet. Price was the first black composer in America to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra and inspired Boston-based composer Francine Trester, whose twenty-minute chamber opera Florence Comes Home will also be performed. The piece, based on researched archives and the 2007 discovery of some of Price’s lost musical manuscripts and letters, won acclaim at its Boston premiere in fall 2019 and Rhode Island premiere by Aurea in 2020.
Consuelo Sherba, Artistic Director of Aurea, said, “We have much to gain from listening to Whitman’s magnanimous fervor with fresh, critical ears. In light of Whitman’s recent bicentennial, expansive vision, and impact on American culture, we are also acutely aware of how much more encompassing that vision can be.” She continued, “The revelations of a set beautiful works recently discovered by the African-American composer of the early 20th century, Florence Prize, are particularly poignant in light of the 2020 centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment. After the program’s inspiring arc, it is very gratifying to conclude with contemporary Boston composer Francine Trester’s lyrical tribute to Price.”
About the Aurea Ensemble
Based in Rhode Island and founded over 15 years ago, this eclectic chamber ensemble explores the relationship between music and speech. The group takes its name from Catena Aurea Homeri, or Homer’s Golden Chain, a symbol of 18th century esoteric alchemy – the combination of disparate elements into a new divine element. This is the very definition of every Aurea event: a new kind of artistic experience is created from the band’s solid framework of classical, folk and contemporary music performed with eloquent poetry, journals and prose.
Brianna Robinson, soprano
Carrie Cheron, mezzo-soprano
RaShaun Campbell, baritone
Alexey Shabalin, violin
Anna Williams, violin
Consuelo Sherba, viola
Emmanuel Feldman, cello
Chris Turner, harmonica player/player
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