Considered broadly, culture provides evidence that history repeats itself. The wisdom of past generations fade from view and our memory of them lose vitality. The long-term memory of humanity resonates in the things that have been have created. The desires, hardships, calamities, and joys of our ancestors ring in the foundations of the Roman Forum, the cave paintings of Lascaux, the Statue of Liberty, to name just a few. We can think of cultural history as a pendulum that sways from classicism to romanticism. The pendulum freezes on extremes for just a moment. All other times we are gliding through ratios of creative ingenuity and creative contemplation. What is most fascinating is the space in between – the times in history where culture reflects a tipping point. During the era we now call classical (1750-1820), drastic developments in industry, philosophy, and art seemed to reach a boiling point, at which time we see the gradual embrace of a completely different set of values. The romantic era (1800-1850) was a reaction, a rebuttal, a revolution.
The concept of our season, Sensation, is inspired by the first chord of the choral section of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; the schreckensfanfare, or horror fanfare. These are uncertain times. The long American election has been an addition to our personal anxieties, in addition to an unsettled world, in addition to an endangered climate, in addition, in addition. One wonders what solace can be found in choral music. We may revisit some remedies that were embraced in the age of Beethoven and Schiller. Beethoven offers a rebuttal to his own vision of horror with the main theme of the 4th movement, the Ode to Joy. It is daringly folksy, and its brilliance is demonstrated by its ubiquitousness. You may have sung the theme from your church hymnal, and it is the anthem of the European Union. It lives in the minds of millions and millions of people, the whole world over. If you wished to stop the world, and have every person on earth sing a tune in unison, this would be the best choice.
What shall our theme be, after the horror fanfare? Dare we aspire to a song of joy that we could all sing in unison? Can we dream that it will be knowable by all people of the earth? Our concerts this season will not be a mirror to our times, but rather a kaleidoscope through which we can see beautiful possibilities.
These are the consolations of Romanticism. The consolations of nature, awe, spirit, beauty:
The consolations of imagination, aesthetic experience, the sublime:
American Gothic, YNYC Mixed Ensemble
Saturday March 25, 2017 at 7:00
Irondale Ensemble Project, Brooklyn
YNYC will present an immersive and highly stylized performance dedicated to the poetry Edgar Allan Poe. Tarik O’Regan’s 2006 masterwork, The Ecstasies Above, will be bookended by two loop-based choral improvisations, involving the audience in a meditation on Poe’s sublime and melancholic texts.
The consolations of folk art, ancient custom, heroism, genius:
Story Time, YNYC Women’s Ensemble and Chamber Singers
Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7:00
St. Michael’s Church
This dramatic performance will feature stories of humor, fantasy, loss, memory, and fantasy, told by Opera Choruses, Madrigals and Folk Ballads. This concert will feature YNYC’s Competition for Young Composers, this year representing the best new music for Women’s Choirs.
The consolations of originality, artists’ voice, emotion:
Newest Wave, YNYC Mixed Ensemble
Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 7:00
St. John Nepomucene
YNYC’s full range of atmospheric vocals will be on display as a battery of young composers arranges songs by Avant Pop musicians: Sufjan Stevens, Prince, Kate Bush, David Bowie, and others. These will be paired with complementary selection of choral music from the standard repertoire for a unique concert experience.