Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fern Hill: A Melancholy Masterpiece

Fern Hill, with text by Dylan Thomas, and the first of three settings called "A Dylan Thomas Trilogy" by composer John Corigliano will be featured on the Lincoln Choral Artists spring concert:
Modus Emotus: Exploring Human Emotion - Love and Longing.

Facebook Event Concert Page

I will be sharing a lot of information about this piece at our annual "InChoir" Event on Thursday, May 2nd. For more info visit: "InChoir" Event

Today, I simply want to give a little info on the feeling of and reasoning for performing this piece. It has become a Choral Masterwork and a huge part of the standard repertoire for American Choirs. This is second time I will have conducted the piece.

The music from it's open measures elicits a melancholy nature that moves quickly into moments of youthful exuberance and even dark flickers of hidden memories. The text, full text , which is really a memory of Dylan's childhood visits to a family farm, are filled with interesting and familiar tropes. This is definitely not the farm of the Midwest, it is in Wales, but it is quintessentially "American" in feel being interpreted and set by John Corigliano. I think many singers and audience attendees can and do make a strong familial connection to this text. I know I did about 20 years ago when I first heard this music on the Kansas City Chorale's recording on the same name, Fern Hill. I love the challenge of putting together an extended work for a choir like LCA to perform. Our last endeavors of this kind were Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and selected movements from Brahm's Requiem.

I am very excited to share this music and more about this piece in upcoming weeks, on May 2nd for the "InChoir" Event and culminating with the performance on May 19th. Both event will be held at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE.

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