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AETHERIA:  Music of the sky, air, and atmosphere

The Esoterics will conclude its series of three “choral ecologies” with AETHERIA, a concert of music that draws its inspiration from the ever-changing breath of the earth and the creatures who inhabit our skies.  During this concert, The Esoterics will also give voice to the winners of its 2014 POLYPHONOS competition, premiering new works by each of the three winning composers, who will be in attendance to meet our audience and talk about their creative process.

Each of three POLYPHONOS composers was required to choose and set a text that resonates with the “airy” theme of this concert.  For her piece entitled Lyft, Stef Conner, this year’s International prize winner (from Surrey, England) has set three riddles in medieval English from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book (Codex Exoniesis).  For his commission, this year’s National prize winner Greg Simon (Ann Arbor, MI) set poetry by his wife, Jodi-Renee Giron.  Simon’s work, Pneuma, contemplates breath as a metaphor for the spirit.  Dale Trumbore (Los Angeles, CA), winner of this year’s Young Composer prize, set Barbara Crooker’s poem, After the storm passes, which describes a sinuous journey on the wind following the rain.

Other works in AETHERIA will include The Beaufort scale,a humoresque by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen.  The text for this work is taken from descriptions in the Beaufort wind force scale, which relates wind speed to observed conditions on land or sea.  The group will also perform Winging wildly, a triptych of avian poems (by Sara Teasdale, Paul Dunbar, and Siegfried Sassoon) set by the celebrated San Francisco composer Kirke Mechem.  The Esoterics will also reprise Nine sunset watercolors by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, an atmospheric commission in which a constellation of vocal quartets surround the audience and sing haiku-like vignettes in sequence.

Former POLYPHONOS winner Zachary Wadsworth will be heard again on this concert with his work To the roaring wind, which was composed for HARMONIA composer Dominick DiOrio’s Contemporary Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University. In Wadsworth’s setting, every phoneme of this four-line stanza by Wallace Stevens is stretched beyond recognition, into a “storm” of extended choral sounds.   Finally, Founding Director Eric Banks’ four-movement work, The Syrian seasons, will be performed in its complete form for the first time.  Each movement is based on ethereal lines from Nizar Qabbani’s One hundred love letters, and will be sung in both Arabic and English.

A portion of the proceeds from The Esoterics’ AETHERIA will be donated to Seattle Audubon Society,
a nonprofit that cultivates and leads our community in protecting birds and the environment.

Please join The Esoterics for one of these three performances of AETHERIA:

Friday ∙ 3 October 2014 ∙ 800 pm ∙ Seattle
(Pre-concert lecture at 715pm ∙ Post-concert composer’s reception)
St Stephen’s Episcopal Church ∙ 4805 NE 45th Street

Saturday ∙ 4 October 2014 ∙ 800 pm ∙ West Seattle
Holy Rosary Catholic Church ∙ 4142 42nd Avenue SW

Sunday ∙ 5 October 2014 ∙ 300 pm ∙ Bainbridge Island
Grace Episcopal Church ∙ 8595 NE Day Road

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