a two-concert event
In November 2023, KHORIKOS performed our first-ever two-concert program: CIVITAS, a reconstruction of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Across the two concerts, we performed renaissance-era settings of the biblical texts alongside stunning contemporary pieces and five brand-new world premieres. We presented this musical, emotional arc across one weekend in our home space, the magnificent Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua in NYC’s SOHO, and we aim to bring this program to new ears in 2024 and beyond.
The Lamentations are a chronicle of loss. These sacred poems bemoan a fallen city and a broken society. But from all this grief, a rich musical tradition emerged, and has transcended centuries. The texts are traditionally framed as “Lessons”, for which composers wrote elaborate initials (letters of the Hebrew alphabet set to music) as introductions to each line. Our program takes up this framework, but replaces much of the biblical material with contemporary poetry and music, carefully curated to question the fatalism of the Lamentations.
In her SIX VARIATIONS, poet Denise Levertov writes:
Through the hollow globe, a ring
of frayed rusty scrapiron,
is it the sea that shines?
Is it a road at the world’s edge?
Across both concerts, there's early music from Tallis, Lobo, di Lasso, and many others, music from monumental 20th century composers including Britten, Rachmaninoff, and Tavener, contemporary pieces by Cecilia McDowall, Roderick Williams, Tigran Hamasyan, Thomas Adès, and more. This is also the largest commissioning project in KHORIKOS history, yielding brand-new works by our composer-collaborators Evelin Seppar, Andrew Smith, Ben Zucker, and Alec Galambos.
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