The Crossing debuts new piece

The Crossing will perform Oct. 5. Credit: Steven Hyder
The Crossing will perform this weekend.
Credit: Steven Hyder

Composer John Luther Adams, called “one of the most original thinkers of the new century” by the New Yorker, has lived in Alaska for the last 35 years, an environment often reflected in his music. Calling to talk about Adams and his newly commissioned work for Philly new-music choir The Crossing last week, conductor Donald Nally was enjoying some end-of-summer time at the beach. The two landscapes couldn’t be more different, but the mere fact of their proximity to nature links them to the concert-length work that The Crossing will premiere this weekend.

“I’m really interested in John’s music and language,” Nally says. “He’s always describing our natural world, and I’m really interested in music that references or reaches out to the natural world. It seems to indicate to me or to magnify the distance that we are from that world in our everyday life.. But John lives in a much more remote area where he experiences that world more than I do living in Chicago or Philadelphia.”

The new piece, co-commissioned with the Latvian choir Kamer, is titled “Canticles of the Holy Wind” and alternates movements inspired by the sky, the wind, birds and other motifs from nature. Nally describes the 70-minute work as “very atmospheric. It’s designed to, over the extended period of a movement, allow you to disappear into your own space. Each movement has an idea that allows you to disappear into your own thinking as it creates a mood that exists and hovers for a while.”

The premiere of “Canticles of the Holy Wind” kicks off The Crossing’s 2013-2014 season, which will also feature newly commissioned works by composers Ted Hearne and Gavin Bryars, the latter in conjunction with local saxophone quartet PRISM. Nally finds a loose theme for the season in the choir’s December concert, which includes a Wolfgang Rihm piece inspired by 19th-century German philosopher Novalis’ poem “Astralis.”

“That piece is about an individual finding his way through the comfort and longing involved in intersecting with the world,” Nally explains. “That desire for companionship is an age-old theme, and it’s a large, loose theme through which we’re threading a number of pieces throughout this season. ‘Cantciles’ is about the inevitability of the earth moving independently of human interaction, so it can’t help but remind us of the responsibility that we have to the birds, to the wind and the sky and the sun and the moon.”

The Crossing: “Canticles of the Holy Wind”
Sept. 15
The Icebox at Crane Arts
1400 N. American St.
$18-$27
www.crossingchoir.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…