Welcome to AcquaTroupe’s second online performance! We are pleased to do everything we can to lighten your mood, give you hope and bring us all together amid homebound and isolated circumstances. As we always do, AcquaTroupe brings a mix of styles in music, words and images to the doorstep of your ‘Corona cave’ ! This is a special week: we honor our planet on Earth Day (April 22), Will Shakespeare on his birthday (the 23rd), and Ramadan which begins that day as well. To all our Islamic brothers and sisters: Ramadan Mubarak.
Please welcome one of our top artists, Sarah Ellena Hogrefe as she joins pianist John King Carter in Sea Slumber Song from Sir Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures Op. 37. Last time we gave you some Walt Whitman; this one has poetry by Roden Noel. Happy Earth Day!
In celebration of the earth, and of spring – with hopes for a healthier and brighter future -- this is James Gibson’s Jeux du Printemps (Springtime Games), performed by him and inspired by Debussy and by the promise of a sunnier day somewhere in our future.
Another beautiful piece from Lawrence Moss, Lament gives us a moment to consider the turmoil and loss in which we are all currently trying to find peace. The Khasma piano duo is Ashlee Mack and Katherine Palumbo.
Now we can brighten the mood with an amazing showstopper performed by our own Allie Brault ! This is Jacques Offenbach’s Doll Aria (‘Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille’) from The Tales of Hoffman. If you don’t feel good after watching and hearing this, you never will!
Grab a beverage, check to make sure others in your home are okay, and then settle back for some more fascinating artistry from several favorite guest artists!
I would normally let you see me (in my mask) and hear my voice, but allergies make me sound stranger than any experimental music.....so here are my words. I have a personal connection to each selection on this second half of the concert. I hope you enjoy these!
---James Gibson, Director of AcquaTroupe and World Oceans Arts
In 1971 I had the honor of getting to know the world-famous band Redbone, four Yaqui Indians from California and Sonora. Ever since, the sound of Native American flutes has always drawn me into deep and astounding places, both low and high. This powerful music brings a person to the corners and depths of the earth, the mysteries and greatness of the sky. In memory of two Redbone members who passed on – Lolly Vegas and my buddy Tony Bellamy – please let yourself absorb the sound of Yaqui flute music.
Exactly twenty years after I met Redbone, I was hired to be vocal coach for Anisa Romero, whose groundbreaking and unique band Sky Cries Mary is still a leader in the world’s most unusual and penetrating rock-influenced music. She and they opened my mind to a new world of sounds, caught somewhere between Beethoven and outer space and all the new musical styles of my generation. My band (Mozart’s Children) shared rehearsal space with Pearl Jam, whose members told me they thought Sky Cries Mary was the best band to ever come from Seattle. Check it out.....
As I wrote in my poem Go Away, Corona, my most beloved country (Italy) was a first-round scene of horror in the covid19 pandemic. But I was overjoyed when I recently saw violinist Lena Yokoyama do a quintessential Italian thing: she scaled the rooftops of Cremona and gave music to everyone who could hear it. Viva, Italia!
Welcome! In this time of anxiety and necessary separation from one another, we are happy to share a few examples of the amazing talents of our performing and creative artists. We invite you to our websites, and to their sites and social media pages, for lots more of this wonderful artistry!
This is the composer’s most oft-requested piece in piano recitals. Its sounds are inspired by Indonesian gamelan music, while its form is improvisatory.Threshold on YouTube
Discovery was inspired by a poem the composer’s daughter wrote as a young student. He hopes our current worldwide crisis may inspire many to discover new ways of caring for each other, new means of being productive and creating beauty in the environment of our homes.
Text by Walt Whitman, included in his world-beloved Leaves of Grass. The depiction of transition from the end of a day at midnight to the next day is often felt to be a metaphor for crossing the threshold from a physical to a spiritual existence. Ellena Hogrefe (mezzo soprano) is principal artistic consultant for AcquaTroupe, and is currently recording two CDs of art songs with James Gibson (piano).
James wrote the poem a few days ago when feeling most intensively the sadness and immensity of the loss of so many lives around the world during the current pandemic. It embodies pleas he was hearing from many voices and all sorts of people.
I shudder to hear the number of deaths and positive tests;
My beloved Italia is dying under the weight of this mess.
I try to contact someone important to me
But a sad empty inbox is all my eyes can see...
I pray for the victims and medical helpers and friends
And like everyone else I just keep on asking "When?"
No hugs, no concerts, and even the church is online,
I wish I could give all the world the good health that is mine.
We are filled to the brim with our gifts and good fortune and wealth
So perhaps it's our wake-up call that approaches by stealth,
When we think we have conquered the darkness and truly have won
The corona burns hotly and threatens to blind our sun.
I pray and I know better days lie ahead for us all
But the loss of so many is casting a most dreadful pall
Over life which is so rich and yet often so darkly sad....
We dream of fresh breaths and remember the joy we have had...
Wish away bad corona and bring back the purest bright sun
'Til we smile once again and pretend that we truly have won.
---Copyright 2020 by James GibsonAcquaTroupe's Blog
Our video series “Exploring with Shakespeare” is an ambitious, ongoing project in which actors produce short audio files and videos about many different aspects of the great Bard’s work. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list for newsletters and essays which are part of this project.
We are proud to have supported ABDA with this video. We continue to consider them our number one recipient of support, and we encourage you to do the same. The pandemic is teaching all of us that reaching out to those in dire need is at the essence of how a society endures the worst crises.
Lawrence Moss is one of the most revered of American composers, who taught and mentored others (including James Gibson) for more than half a century. He is more active than ever in his ‘90’s! New Dawn contains twenty-seven beautiful works for various combinations of musicians, including the three selections on this program.
Nature invites you to enjoy its beauty during this prolonged time at home, as in this song of a Brown Thrasher, recorded in Clayton County, Georgia USA by James Gibson. He is the son of a prominent naturalist and is recognized as a world class birder. James likes the thrasher because of the boldness and spontaneity of its songs, which can take many different forms.