“There were several sources of inspiration for Ancient Scenes, and it is a more programmatic work than most others I have written. One obvious influence was the beautiful poetry of the late Seamus Heaney, Ireland's Nobel Prize-winning poet. The second was a visit to the ancient town of Auvillar, France, where I was invited to spend a week as composer-in-residence at the Etchings Festival in 2010. The town had an ancient market area dating back to Roman times, and also had been (and is still today) a stopping-off point for pilgrims en-route to a sacred shrine in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. I envisioned the development of such a town in its early stages. The instrumental movements (I Origins, II Constructions, V Journeys: Pilgrims, Prayer, Conflicts, Reconciliations) suggest a chronological trajectory. The songs (II, III, VI, and VII) are stops along the way. The first poem takes its cue from the sound of a crowd echoing through an ancient coliseum; the second accompanies a dance (sounding more Irish than French to my ear) that might have been performed as festive entertainment. The third song is a reflection on the fragility of the human condition, and the last paints a portrait of a still harbor shimmering in the light. There are seven movements (some connected) and the work lasts approximately 28 minutes.” LK
The Washington Square Ensemble
Sharon Harms, soprano
Louis Karchin, conductor
Tenri Cultural Institute, NYC, April 12, 2014
world premiere of ANCIENT SCENES, The Washington Square Ensemble, Sharon Harms, soprano, with the composer conducting, April 12, 2011, Tenri Cultural Institute, NYC.