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As the May Festival enters a new era of artistic innovation and collaboration, it seems only fitting to begin the 2024 Festival with a work symbolizing creation. Few works of sacred music are more cheerful and joyous than Haydn's The Creation. It exemplifies Haydn’s own personal faith and optimism in humanity, as well as his profound belief in music’s ability to edify, uplift and inspire. Through the inspired use of soloists, full chorus and orchestra, The Creation depicts and celebrates the creation of the earth, and all of its flora and fauna, as narrated in Biblical passages from Genesis and Psalms, as well as from John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
HAYDN: The Creation
VOICES OF THE EARTH
Celebrating the natural wonders of earth and the perseverance of miners in Pennsylvania coal country, this program reflects both the beauty and tragedy of humanity’s relationship with our planet. Natural History is a collaboration between composer Michael Gordon and the Steiger Butte Singers. Written and commissioned to mark the centennial of the National Park System, the piece poses the question: If Crater Lake National Park were a symphony, what would it sound like? The result is a surround-sound celebration of nature and the park’s spiritual connection to the surrounding community. In contrast, Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields is a haunting and powerful oratorio that captures not only the sadness of lives lost in the anthracite coal fields at the turn of the 20th century, but a way of daily life now also lost. The Bang on a Can All-Stars lend their ferocity to this profound work alongside the May Festival Chorus.
Michael GORDON: Natural History
Julia WOLFE: Anthracite Fields