Cygnus Ensemble

Cygnus Presents: Pre-Raphaelite II

Pre-Raphaelite II

Featuring The Creation, A Townley Mystery Play by Frank Brickle; Electric Counterpoint, with 15 live guitars, by Steve Reich, and works by Biscardi, Lang, Anderson, Coughlin, Wilson.

March 8, 2008, 8:30PM
Weill Hall, at Carnegie Hall
Cygnus, with Haleh Abghari, mezzo soprano; Liana Stillman, soporano; Nehemiah Luckett, baritone

This program features the first performance of Frank Brickle's chamber opera The Creation, A Townley Mystery Play.

In this treatment of the creation myth, as God creates the world,  Brickle recreates music through references to music of the past.   Brickle finds this work bringing him into the aesthetic world of the Pre-Raphaelites. He elaborates:

"The original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood agreed on four principles:

1. To have genuine ideas to express; 2. To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them; 3.    To sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt inprevious art, to the exclusion of what is conventional andself-parodying and learned by rote;  4. And, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.

"Note what's missing from this picture: self-expression. I'd venture to say that the essence of the Pre-Raphaelite strain is not self-expression, but rather to use the self to express and reflect something powerful in everyone, from experiences available to any of us. That is one reason why they so often chose subjects from mythology or mythic history: they are the stories that everyone knows."

Brickle's work serves as a centerpiece for a program of works that are both in sympathy and opposition to the Pre-Raphaelite sensibility.


The Creation, A Townley Mystery Play by Frank Brickle
first performance, unstaged

Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich
with 15 live acoustic guitars, Jason Sagebiel, conductor, William Anderson, soloist

with guitarists:   Ben Arendsen, Dustin Carlson, Elizabeth Coleman, Vilian Ivantchev, Andrew McKenna Lee, Patrick

Nolan, Sara Soller, Juan Velez,  Brian Naas, Vinny Loverme, Diego Andrade, David Bradley, Luke Bace, Gabriel

Modern Painters (excerpts)
Arias from David Lang & Manuela Hoelterhof's opera, Modern Painters , a scathing treatment of Pre-Rpahaelite critic John Ruskin

A Lover's Dirge (Shakespeare) with member of the Queens College Choir--James John, conductor



Danielle Davis, Natalia Salemmo, Rachel Smyth-Godinger, Katrina Montagna



Shari Francos, Jamie Carillo

Melisa Bonetti, Yukiko Ishiwata



Joseph Prestamo, Christer Gomez, Jorge Tovar,

Charles Pignatello



Leo Lai, Jaymes Welsh

Mark Wilson, Josué Pagán


two arrangements of Pre-Raphaelite folk/rock  for Cygnus by Brian Coughlin
Scarborough Fair (Simon & Garfunkel version)
The Minstrel in the Gallery by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

William Anderson Setting of Ventadorn/Pound's  Quand l'herba fresca-->

Resisting Stillness by Chester Biscardi

Visits to St. Elizabeth's
a setting of the Bishop poem by Richard Wilson

Pre-Raphaelite Gallery

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Cygnus Ensemble
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Mount Vernon NY 10552
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