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Transient Glory V: The Young People's Chorus at The Society for Ethical Culture
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Transient Glory V: The Young People's Chorus at The Society for Ethical Culture

- Classical and Cultural Connections

Transient Glory V
A celebration of living music
and the momentary beauty of the living voice


The Young People’s Chorus of New York City
In Residence at the 92nd St Y
www.ypc.org
Francisco Nuñez, Artistic Director and Founder
Jon Holden, Principal Pianist

Composers: Mark Adamo, Derek Bermel, John Corigliano,
Thea Musgrave, Stephen Petronio, Bobby Previte,
David Sawer, and Rufus Wainwright

Instrumental Ensemble: Jon Manasse, Clarinet, Ayako Oshima, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, Wendy Sutter, Cello
And
Stephen Petronio Company
(Petronio Dance Company Website)
Stephen Petronio, Artistic Director and Choreographer

John Schaefer, WNYC Radio, Host
Press: Shuman Associates


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 29, 2006


(See Review of Transient Glory at NYU)
Program:

Previte: My First and Greatest Love Affair, Music (2005) by Bobby Previte, Text by E. B. White, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Adamo: Garland, Music (2006) by Mark Adamo, Poems by Emily Dickinson, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Musgrave: Going North, Music (2004) by Thea Musgrave, Poems by John Keats, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Corigliano: One Sweet Morning, Music (2006) by John Corigliano, Text by E.Y. (Yip) Harburg, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Sawer: Mutability, Music (2004) by David Sawer, Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Bermel: A Child’s War, Music (2005) by Derek Bermel, Text by Albert Bermel, World Premiere performance and YPC commission.

Wainwright: Bloom, Music (2006) by Rufus Wainwright, Poems by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, World Premiere April 18, 2006, Joyce Theater, Commissioned by Stephen Petronio Dance Company for YPC.



This was a lovely program, hosted by the eloquent and knowledgeable John Shaefer, WNYC Radio Host. Mr. Shaefer was warm and humorous, respectful and well-timed, as this event was being recorded for presentation on WNYC at a future date. Pauses were brief, and there was no intermission (amazingly, the students were on their feet for hours), and the interesting program kept momentum flowing, as composers spoke, children sang, and dancers joined the production for a full use of space at The Society for Ethical Culture. This auditorium is warm and wood-lined, a meditative, spiritual space. Francisco Nuñez, the chorus’ Artistic Director, has achieved a professional sound from this chorus, and I saw many smiling and proud youngsters singing their hearts out.

The six composers, who were commissioned by Young People’s Chorus to compose music for this event, to accompany prose or poetry, each spoke briefly with Jon Shaefer, prior to the premiere performances. The seventh composer, Rufus Wainwright, whose recorded music from Bloom was used for song and dance, could not attend, but, in his place, Stephen Petronio introduced his dance company. Previte chose E.B. White’s Freedom Essay for My First and Greatest Love Affair, and the chorus sang a cappella, with the word “freedom” repeated often. There was a political undercurrent to this work, well conceived for the times: “My first and greatest love affair was with this thing we call freedom…”

Adamo’s work, Garland, sung with the instrumental ensemble, was based on poems by Emily Dickinson. For Adamo, this was a personal work, written in dedication to a deceased friend. The poetry reflects loss and memories, “We follow thee until thou notice us no more…” Musgrave chose poems by John Keats for music set to two clarinets. This atonal work was sung to Going North: A Song About Myself, about “…a naughty boy, a naughty boy was he…”, who ran away to Scotland. Corigliano, renowned and Pulitzer Prize-Grammy Award-winning composer, wrote One Sweet Morning for this event, based on text by Yip Harburg (who wrote lyrics to Brigadoon and The Wizard of Oz). This ant-war poem predicts that “Out of the embers of blossoms and ashes of clover, Spring will bloom-one sweet morning.”

Sawer used Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem, Mutability. This sensitive, dramatic work was noteworthy for its lack of frills or ornaments. “The flower that smiles today, Tomorrow dies: All that we wish to stay, Tempts and then flies…” Bermel used text by his father, Albert Bermel, based on childhood memories of London Bombings in World War II. A Child’s War was actually the first melodic work in the program, and its overlapping phraseology was mesmerizing. The chorus sang with accented body language and emotional intensity. There was clapping for rhythmic percussion, and wooden sticks enhanced the dynamics.

For Rufus Wainwright’s Bloom, composed to poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, a full dance-choral production was staged, replicated from a recent evening at The Joyce Theater. The Stephen Petronio Company was onstage in wispy grey, silky costumes, gathered and short, with the male dancers in even briefer shorts and tank tops. The chorus first appeared in the aisles in tie-dyed colorful florals on white shirts and dark pants, all matching except for the original floral designs. The chorus soon found its way to the stage, behind the dancers, and the recorded Wainwright, pop-rock score was mixed with live vocals, charismatic choreography, and energized acrobatics, in solos and duets.

As a former school administrator, I found this entire event a wonderful vehicle for student self-expression and channeling of energy and emotion. Kudos to Francisco Nuñez and The Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Kudos to the six composers with commissioned works and the seventh composer, who collaborated with the dance motif. Kudos to Stephen Petronio Company and the lighting and costume designers, all of whom created a most eclectic and energized Transient Glory V.



Francisco Nuñez Conducts the Young People’s Chorus
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger



Francisco Nuñez Conducts the Young People’s Chorus
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger



Stephen Petronio Company Dancers in Bloom
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger



Young People’s Chorus Sing Hope from Bloom
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger



Young People’s Chorus Sing Hope from Bloom
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger



Francisco Nuñez, Stephen Petronio, and the Transient Glory V Composers and Lyricist
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net