'The Blue Hour'
2nd November 2017
The New Yorker on Carolyn Forché's The Blue Hour
G. Schirmer is proud to take part in a new, vital, and collaborative project, promising to be both a energizing musical experience and a watershed moment for the solidarity of female composers.
The Blue Hour features Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza and the dynamic string orchestra A Far Cry in a song cycle written by a collaborative of five leading composers — Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. The world premiere of the work will be presented by co-commissioner Washington Performing Arts in Washington, DC on November 4, 2017, with a tour to follow. The other co-commissioners are Bucknell University, University of Iowa's Hancher Performances, and Florida State University.
The text that serves as the libretto is by 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize-winner Carolyn Forché. The excerpted poem, 'On Earth', is from Forché's 2003 collection Blue Hour. This remarkable poem takes the form of an abecedarium: a listing of images, thousands of them, in alphabetical order, like a flurry of memories from a life coming to its end. Mirroring A Far Cry's democratic creative process (as a conductorless ensemble), the composers worked together to develop the text adaptation from Forché's poem for this musical setting, maintaining the abecedary form. While each composer has created individual songs, they also collaborated on instrumental transitions, refrains, and musical themes to create a continuous, integrated work.
On the project, A Far Cry writes: 'In a time when we are seeing masses of people dehumanized — by war, displacement, poverty — we are looking here at a single life, the beautiful detail of one human existence. There is something precious in that; that through our sense of empathy with this one individual, we are given a lens through which to see our own world with greater clarity'.
'The Blue Hour' Tour
November 4, 2017
Washington Performing Arts [world premiere / co-commissioner]
November 9, 2017
Bucknell University [co-commissioner]
November 10, 2017
New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall
November 16, 2017
Iowa City, IA
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa [co-commissioner]
November 18, 2017
November 21, 2017
Florida State University's Opening Night Series [co-commissioner]