The Village Trip
ensemble Cygnus and Three Premieres, with soprano Leah Brzyski
Wednesday, October 26 at 8PM
at Loft 393
393 Broadway (not West Broadway)
Free Admission, but please make a reservation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This concert was scheduled for September 12. It had to be postponed due to multiple Covid misfortunes.
“When ensemble Cygnus reached out regarding a new work, we spoke about the piece being part of a program for The Village Trip, a festival celebrating arts and activism in Greenwich Village,”, said Allison Loggins-Hull. “I immediately chose to reflect on my own experience living in the West Village between 2008-2010. At the time, I was very much in the early stages of ‘starting my life’ and I fed off the energy, culture, and people of the community. 7th Ave S. embodies my strongest memories and feelings during that time.”
“Swans Across the Milky Way” begins with evocations for places far, far away and zooms in toward our planet Earth, leading us to a respectful, planetary perspective. The following descriptive markings appear in this order through the score. Try to hear them.
Astroid Belt - Stars - Jupiter
Primal Dust - The Sun - Many Moons - Cygnus-X1 (Black Hole)
Fireworks Galaxy - Planet Earth - Deneb Galaxy
The work was commissioned by the Roger Shapiro Fund for ensemble Cygnus.
Mr Zohn-Muldoon writes:
I composed Gypsum for the Cygnus Ensemble and soprano Leah Brzyski, thanks to a commission from The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress. The work is a setting of texts by Deidre Huckabay that reflect on their childhood teddy bear “Scoliosis”.
Deidre described the process of writing these texts as unfolding “in a very freeform way, keeping something like a journal on the experience of spending time driving, thinking about Scoliosis, thinking about death, reading about it, dreaming, living, anything.” Further, Deidre writes that the texts “fall into a few categories:
•Material: meditations on the actual stuff of Scoliosis, maybe their character (Scoliosis’s pronoun is they/them), the stuff of the trip and the landscape
•Dialogues: conversations between me and Scoliosis, me and no one
•Rituals: instructions for writing, reports on what I actually did to prepare to write”
Deidre’s texts elicited a playful attitude in my musical imagination and the desire to give space to a wide variety of inter-related musical ideas and associations that seemed whimsically pertinent. These include references to objects I admired as a child (such as my grandfather’s cuckoo clock), quoting from a guitar work I composed in my teens, and evoking fleeting connections to two famous musical works that I loved in childhood, one which my mother used to play at the piano, and the other which my sisters danced to in their ballet lessons.
Texts by Deidre Huckabay –>
(numbered in their order of appearance in the musical setting)
1. what do you hold
what do you hold?
what do you love?
snow where are you from? snow
where will you go when you are gone? snow
grass grass cotton limestone grass
scrub yucca gypsum
fir — FUR grass
4. stay stay stay
everything points to starting with everything go somewhere and stay
go and stay stay stay
3. i love you
i love you
i love you
i love you
it is snow? or cotton?
you grew up
surrounded by cotton fields
you in a bullseye surrounded by rings of cotton
starting tomorrow start with cotton
start with coffee drink 2 cups of coffee before you begin
white like snow white like gypsum white like you
8. open your mouth
just open your mouth
as if you are going to drink coffee but
say some words
put on boots without lacing them
i am afraid of forgetting you
until i remember i am already forgetting you and have been for years
all the years i went on living
with you on the top shelf in the closet
9. so so so so
so soft so so tender so so kind
oso scoleoso scoleosito
Rising coloratura soprano Leah Brzyski is quickly establishing herself as a noteworthy performer throughout the United States. This past season, she made her Santa Fe Opera debut premiering the role of Agave in Adamo and Corigliano’s opera Lord of Cries and covering the role of Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). She then joined Minnesota Opera’s Resident Artist Program for a second season to sing the roles of Frasquita in Carmen and Jeannette in The Anonymous Lover attracting praise for her ability to “soar vocally and steal scenes” (StarTribune).
Recent roles include Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring) with Minnesota Opera and Princeton Festival, Norina (Don Pasquale) with Bel Cantanti Opera, Cendrillon (Cendrillon) with Opera Ithaca, and Le Rossignol (Le Rossignol) with Yale Opera. Ms. Brzyski was the 1st place winner of the 2022 Schubert Club Competition, the 2020 Grand Junction Symphony Competition, the 2020 Dorothy-Lincoln Smith Competition, and a District Winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions (2020).
Upcoming performances include the roles of Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with Minnesota Opera, Agave (Lord of Cries) with Odyssey Opera, and her international debut performance at the Festival Internacional Callejón del Ruido.