The Boston-based Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry has commissioned a new evening-length work for its 11th season in 2017-18. The Blue Hour features Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza in a song-cycle written by a collaborative of five leading female composers – Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. 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. The 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.
Far Cry and the composers are collaborating through ongoing communication and artist retreats. Mirroring A Far Cry’s democratic creative process, the composers worked together to develop the text adaptation from Forche’s poem for this musical setting, maintaining the abecedary form. While each composer is creating individual songs, they are also working together on instrumental transitions, refrains, and musical themes to create a continuous, integrated work.
The world premiere of the work will be presented by co-commissioner Washington Performing Arts in Washington, DC on November 4, 2017. The other co-commissioners are Bucknell University, University of Iowa’s Hancher Performances, and Florida State University.
THE BLUE HOUR
11/4 >>> Washington, DC
Washington Performing Arts [world-premiere/co-commissioner]
11/9 >>> Lewisburg, PA
Bucknell University [co-commissioner]
11/10 >>> Boston, MA
11/16 >>> Iowa City, IA
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa [co-commissioner]
11/18 >>> Durham, NC
11/21 >>> Tallahassee, FL
Florida State University’s Opening Night Series [co-commissioner]