February 12, 2017

Of Innocence and Experience

Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church
921 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021
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The Saint Andrew Music Society presents tenor Andrew Fuchs and oboist Scott Bartucca on their Music on Madison concert series. Their program takes as its starting point Ralph Vaughan Williams's seminal work, the Ten Blake Songs for voice and oboe. In this piece, Vaughan Williams's folk-hued musical language merges with William Blake's stark collection of poems, his Songs of Innocence and of Experience, to expose the duality present in all of human nature. The theme blossoms out from there, as with the works that surround it—Benjamin Britten's fanciful realizations of the transformation myths of Ovid in his Six Metamorphoses After Ovid; George Butterworth's tender cycle on the poetry of A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad; and David Leisner's contemplative, searching work, Of Darkness and Light, which sets the Vietnam War-era poetry of Wendell Berry (presented here in its New York premiere)—they also explore the fleetingness of youth and innocence. Each piece, in dissecting the works of visionary poets from Antiquity through the Romantic age and modern war era, and with distinctive, poignant musical languages, exposes themes and warnings that are hauntingly resonant today.