New Amsterdam Singers salutes American composers who have chosen great poetry — from Hilaire Belloc to e.e. cummings — with expressive references to dreams. These works span 80 years, from Louise Talma’s charming Let’s Touch the Sky from 1952 to Judith Shatin’s 2021 La Frontera, a poignant setting of poems by an undocumented teenager at the U.S. southern border, to Dale Trumbore’s Charting the World, a newly commissioned piece that will receive its world premiere at this concert. After our first-ever collaboration in May 2022, The Harlem Chamber Players will again join the chorus on this program, performing a string quartet by composer, poet, and jazz saxophonist Frederick C. Tillis.
For Charting the World, Trumbore has set two poems that capture the wonder of childhood by contemporary poet Diane Thiel. Carol Barnett’s Most Holy Night, which will receive its New York premiere, was commissioned by the Minneapolis ensemble VocalEssence in 2015 as part of a project called Quilt Songs, a cycle of settings of poems inspired by quilts by artist Kay McCarthy. Based on a quilt entitled “Moon River,” Barnett chose an atmospheric ode to the night by early 20th century English-Franco poet Hilaire Belloc. For her 2008 To Sit and Dream, composer Rosephanye Powell set lines from a Langston Hughes poem that invites listeners to reach toward dreams of a more just society.
|Charting the World, World premiere, commissioned by NAS
|Most Holy Night
|You Can Tell the World
|The Road Home
|Let’s Touch the Sky
|To Sit and Dream
|Frederick C. Tillis
This same program is also available via livestream on Sunday, March 19th, 2023, at 4PM. Purchase tickets here.
Here, Music Director Clara Longstreth speaks about why she commissioned Charting the World by Dale Trumbore, what led her to return to Louise Talma’s Let’s Touch The Sky three decades after the chorus first performed the piece, and why she isn’t calling this program with six women composers a “concert of women composers.”