Members of the CRSO had a wonderful rehearsal on Sunday 19th February in which we explored CRSO Associate Composer Jacob Bride’s new work “Baptism and Belle”, a song cycle in five movements after poems by Louise Erdrich and Emily Dickenson. Jacob conducted, and we were joined by Mezzo-Soprano Sian Woodling, who sang beautifully. The movements are:
- Ninth Month – Louise Erdrich
- He Touched Me so I Live to Know / Wild Nights – Emily Dickenson
- Bidwell Ghost – Louise Erdrich
- They Shut Me Up in Prose – Emily Dickenson
- Mary Magdalene – Louise Erdrich
Jacob shared the following thoughts about the work recently:
‘In less than four weeks I am premiering a song cycle… I spent possibly the best part of a year wading through texts and then eventually discussing poems with the soloist before I even wrote a single note of music… The music then took about six months to compose, and I began to truly understand the texts as the work progressed… Having conversations of a very intimate and personal nature with Sian Woodling (the mezzo-soprano soloist for whom this work was composed) who, as a woman, understood the words of these feminist literary Goddesses, Emily Dickinson and Louise Erdrich, better than I ever could. Through sharing her past experiences and thoughts with me, and some rather emotional conversations, I was able to come to a fuller understanding of the words, and create something that I felt I could fully submerge myself in…. And then… something happens… something very small, yet enormous at the same time… An experience that is commonplace, and sometimes meaningless, to nearly everyone, but colossal in its own way… and then I realise… *Now* I finally understand this particular text even more than I thought possible… ‘
Baptism and Belle is very moving work; a member of the orchestra was moved to tears at one point, something that I have not seen in an orchestral rehearsal. It was also lovely to see several friends of both the CRSO and Jacob came to listen to the rehearsal, notably Willow Rivers, who told me during a break in the music that she has a new website; do check it out here.
We are thrilled to be giving the premiere of Baptism and Belle at the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs on 12th March at 1500; watch this space for more details!