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A Lot of Night Music

News Feature

News & Events

April 8, 2012

Friday night the Choral Society's Spring Concert, under the direction of Professor Steven Young, will feature the world premiere of two works. One is by Professor Curtiss Hoffman of anthropology, whose cantata includes textual components from the writings of Carl Jung with melodies based on dreams of Dr. Hoffman.

The other is by Boston-based composer Graham Ramsay, and is called "Oda al Mar" ("Ode to the Sea").

The third piece featured in the performance is "Oceanic Eyes" by Matthew Harris. The composer visited with Dr. Young and the choral society in the days before the performance.

Dr. Hoffman's piece, "The Gilgamesh Cantata," was written using software called Finale. "My dreams came up with the melodies I just copied them down and worked them," said the composer, who says he dabbled with music back in his high school days.

The lyrics for the piece come from Jung's "Red Book," which the famous psychologist wrote and illustrated between 1914 and 1930. The book was not published until 2009.

Composing the cantata was "very intense," Dr. Hoffman said. "It's the sort of thing that gets me up in the middle of the night," he said.

Mr. Ramsay's piece was written specifically for the BSU performers.

"He sent me some music about a year and a half ago and we played something of his last year, and then he asked if he would write something for us," Dr. Young said.

The result is a modern piece that is very expressive, featuring an ocean-like, cyclical motion.

Mr. Harris' visit with the choral singers helps in many ways, Dr. Young said.

"It gives them different insights into the making of the piece," he said.

The Choral Society's Spring Concert will be held Friday at 8 p.m. in the Horace Mann Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public.

(Story by John Winters, G '11; photo by Doris Galli, '13, University Advancement)

The BSU Choral Society (file)

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