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Sat, Sep 24



Aurea Ensemble- I Hear America Singing

Aurea’s signature blending of poetry, prose and song; harmonica improvisations, and chamber music, celebrates the ever unfolding ideals of democracy, in I Hear America Singing.

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Time & Location

Sep 24, 2022, 8:00 PM

Pawtucket, 50 Park Pl, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA

About the event

Created in 2020 to commemorate Walt Whitman’s 2019 bicentennial and the 2020 centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment, the call for a more democratic society, is as urgent now, as ever in our nation’s history. The first half of the program draws from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and other writings, his eclectic musical sensibility and vision for American democracy in the face of the Civil War. The string quartet selections begin ironically, with the iconic “American String Quartet” by  Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, roughly Whitman’s contemporary, who was brought to NYC to start an American conservatory developing and promoting a distinctive American voice. The deeply touching Molto Adagio movement from String Quartet No. 1, by African-American composer George Walker, whose centennial we celebrate this year, is also juxtaposed with the American music of Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and Amy Beach.

The second half expands on Whitman’s vision. Pairing Whitman’s iconic poem, I Hear America Singing, with the compelling response, I too, by the great African-American poet, Langston Hughes, written roughly a century later, is meant to continue the cultural and philosophical trajectory forward.  The life and music of Florence Price,  (1888-1953) America’s first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major American symphony orchestra, features prominently in the second half of the program. It is very gratifying to present Boston-based composer, Francine Trester’s chamber opera, Florence Comes Home. This twenty-minute work is based on researched archives and the 2007 discovery of some of Price’s lost musical manuscripts and letters in an abandoned house that Price once lived in. The piece was given its Boston premiere to high acclaim in 2019 and performed at Brown University by Aurea in February, 2020.

Performers: Brianna Robinson, soprano Carrie Cheron, mezzo-soprano Rashaun Campbell, baritone

Nigel Gore, spoken word Chris Turner, harmonica/spoken word Alexey Shabalin, violin Anna Williams, violin Consuelo Sherba, viola Emmanuel Feldman, cello

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