A conversation with Solenne Païdassi
I’m still coming down from the summer– Schoenberg, Shostakovich, “The Jury,” everything and everyone who turned up
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“The love of men is my chief joy”
There were a few weeks in mid-July when NCMF Composer-in-Residence Jon Deak emailed me a new page of the manuscript every day; it was as if I were witnessing the birth of the new composition in real time, not unlike a musical version of watching Harry Potter step out from behind the Cloak of Invisibility. The manuscript I’m referring to is, of course, the score for the piece this summer, “The Jury,” composed by Deak and based on the eponymous poem by Rhina P. Espaillat.
While I look forward to the world premiere every year, this time might be the most excited I’ve ever been. “The Jury” promises to be everything I’ve come to expect from the Pulitzer-nominated composer – wry, arch, immensely entertaining, and with a sting in the tail. Jon’s work blurs the line between music and theater: he has the musicians scratching their strings, knocking on wood, cooing, clucking, and a bunch of other nutty stuff, some of which, to be honest, I have no clue how to do. And all this while the soprano prowls around the stage behind the string players speaking, singing, reciting, gasping, and moaning. I’ve got no idea what is going to happen in the concert but that’s part of the thrill.
I’ll be arriving in Newburyport this weekend to prep for the festival. Let the games begin!
David Yang, Artistic Director