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Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Terra Nova (Digital World Premiere)

Jun 17 | Thu |
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5BMF marks a triumphant return to live concert performance and the grand finale of its 2020-2021 Digital Mainstage Season with the New York City and online premieres of Terra Nova, a concert-length song cycle composed by the members of ORACLE HYSTERICAL and performed in collaboration with HUB NEW MUSIC.

Commissioned by Hub New Music and 5BMF, Terra Nova will be presented live in partnership with BPL PRESENTS on May 15th in a free, outdoor performance on the steps at Brooklyn Public Library’s majestic Grand Army Plaza location, and also filmed at the historic NEWHOUSE CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART AT SNUG HARBOR, Staten Island, for its online premiere on June 17th.

ABOUT THE PROJECT Terra Nova is inspired by a range of ambitious, gritty (and sometimes naive, cruel, and myopic) explorers: a fanciful view from Amelia Earhart’s cockpit by Majel Connery, a playful setting of John James Audubon’s descriptions of wood warblers by Brad Balliett, Dylan Greene’s speculative tone poem of the pre-Columbian exploration of North America by Chinese mariners, Elliot Cole’s haunting setting of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s final letter home, and Agamemnon, Doug Balliet’s tension-filled spoken-and-sung cantata depicting the ill-fated king’s reunion with Clytemnestra; plus many more. These adventurers, captivated by unchartered territory, share an often combustible mix of guts, ego, greed, and unwavering determination, their discoveries ranging from the beautiful to the terrible.

Both venues share deep connections with the musical material. Terra Nova will be in its element on the grounds of Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, one of the city’s great monuments to the printed word, whose collection contains all of the texts that inspired these new works. The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, by contrast, shares in the songs’ spirit and history; now a museum for contemporary art, it was once a dormitory for sailors, with frescoed walls that still read “Rest after dangerous Toil,” a 188-year-old space, existing then and now for intrepid explorers and explorations.

Program: Terra Nova A collection of songs inspired by new lands, and the people who ventured into them

Majel Connery – All the way down (2021) Inspired by the musings of Amelia Earhart

Brad Balliett – Wood Warblers (2021) Excerpts from the writings of naturalist John James Audubon

Dylan Greene – When China Discovered the World (2021) Instrumental after the book by Gavin Menzies

Majel Connery – Fallen Angel (2021) From Milton’s Paradise Lost

Doug Balliett – The Gothic Pater Noster (2021) From the Gothic Bible, ca. 390 AD

Doug Balliett – Agamemnon Crosses the Line (2021) Loosely based on Aeschylus’s Oresteia

Dylan Greene – laundry and cooking (2021) Adapted from the poem by Bret Harte

Elliot Cole – Terra Nova (2021) From the journals of Robert Falcon Scott

Oracle Hysterical: Doug Balliett, bass/viola da gamba Brad Balliett, bassoons Majel Connery, keyboards/vocals Elliot Cole, guitars/keyboards/vocals Joe Bergen, guest percussion

Hub New Music: Michael Avitable, flute Nicholas Brown, clarinet Alyssa Wang, violin Jesse Christeson, cello

Sound Engineer: Chris Botta Videography: Eric Jenkins-Sahlin, Meristem Pictures

Venue: Online

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