As we move closer to September we are excited to share the world premiere of a new work by Kevin Puts. The Company of Voices will premiere “To Touch the Sky (Nine Songs for Unaccompanied Chorus on Texts by Women)” at our season opener in September. Kevin has written an exquisite piece that includes moving texts that span the centuries by inspired women including Marie Howe (image at left), Amy Lowell and Mother Teresa as well as Emily Brontë, Sappho, Christina Georgina Rossetti, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Hildegard von Bingen.
Conspirare will also record this piece for pairing with a live performance of Puts’ Fourth Symphony by the Baltimore Symphony on a harmonia mundi release. There is so much to discover in these texts. I know the first one particularly resonates with me, and I would like to share it here with you:
Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does —
And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me
only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.
– Marie Howe (b. 1950) from The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.
I hope you will spend time with these texts over the next weeks as you prepare to listen to them as set by Kevin. You can find the complete texts here. Please feel free to share your responses to these words in the comments.
Kevin’s compositions are numerous and he recently won the Pulitzer Prize for his opera “Silent Night.” You can begin to get an aural sense of his work by listening to selected excerpts at http://www.kevinputs.com/listen.html.
I look forward to taking this journey to the sky with you.