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This autumn, the ensemble will continue its “voice of the poet” theme with a concert of choral works setting verses by the legendary literary iconoclast, Oscar Wilde. Celebrated for his witty retorts, pointed plays, and a homosexual scandal that shattered his reputation, Wilde is not known for his verse. In response to this oversight, The Esoterics has curated a program of pieces that honor Wilde's contribution to the poetic genre. In this concert, The Esoterics will reprise Dominick DiOrio's The visible world, which sets verses from Wilde’s De profundis, the epic poem he penned while in prison, in which he envisioned a more open and accepting world. The group will also perform Eric Barnum’s Requiescat, an elegy that Wilde composed after the death of his sister, Isola. The ensemble will also present Australian composer Malcolm Williamson’s setting of Wilde’s Sonnet on hearing the Dies irae in the Sistine Chapel. In addition, the group will present a quadruple-chorus world premiere by founding director Eric Banks that sets seven of Wilde’s poems about the birds of the air, Silhouettes against the sky. The centerpiece of this program will include three additional world premieres, by the winners of The Esoterics’ annual POLYPHONOS competition: In the gold room: A harmony, a mysterious setting by Canadian-German composer Gordon Williamson; In the forest, an ethereal piece by the Japanese-American composer Kenji Oh; and Endymion, Casey Rule's rousing setting of Wilde's poem about the lover of Selene, the ancient Greek moon goddess. All three composers -- Gordon, Kenji, and Casey -- will be joining us to present their pieces and meet our audience for the entire concert weekend!
The Esoterics presents SYBILLA, the complete Hildegard motets by American composer Frank Ferko (b 1950). Ferko’s motets, composed between 1993 and 2012, set texts by the 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen. Ferko has had a long relationship with Hildegard and her visions, and has written both instrumental and choral music inspired by her work. The texts of Ferko’s motets come from Hildegard’s Symphonium celestium revolationum, a cycle of more than seventy poems that she composed for use throughout the church year. In his realization of Hildegard’s visionary texts, Ferko employs organ-like textures and harmonies that evoke the music of Messiaen and Poulenc. An accomplished organist and composer for organ, Ferko is a scholar on the music of Messiaen, on whom he has lectured extensively. In his motets, Ferko’s lavish harmonies are juxtaposed with acerbic phrases of Medieval counterpoint. For information, please click the image above.
As part of our continuing effort to create remarkable new choral music, The Esoterics has joined forces again with Power2Give (via ArtsFund) to raise funds for our annual choral composition competition, POLYPHONOS. Power2Give is one of the most generous matching funds available to arts organizations in the area. For every donation you make to our campaign, ArtsFund will match 50% of your contribution. The Esoterics' annual budget for POLYPHONOS is $7,500. Please consider helping The Esoterics continue our mission to create and perform new a cappella music by donating to our Power2Give project. Please click the banner above to visit our project page and find out more about POLYPHONOS. Donor benefits include recordings, signed artwork, exclusive invitations, and even a private performance by The Esoterics. Thank you so much for considering a donation!