American poet Emily Dickinson is known for a life lived in relative seclusion in her home in Amherst MA. Despite this seclusion, her poetry is bursting with life, passion, and curiosity. Through these nearly 1,800 poems, we see a world of possibility created with words. The 10 poems set in Emily’s House imagine Dickinson herself to be the narrator, engaging with the world from the comfort and safety of her New England home and beautiful garden. In each poem, this introverted soul explores the many facets of life: love, loss, joy, and pain, yet never straying far from the secure shelter of home.
Drs. Jolly and Chua breathe incredible new life into these settings, creating a personal and profound performance which transports the listener to Dickinson’s homestead. I am eternally grateful for their hard work and commitment to artistry and collaboration. — Evan Williams
Absent an Adjustment
“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells deals with the catastrophic possibilities of climate change that extend beyond just the well-known narrative of melting glaciers. Absent an Adjustment serves as my reaction to this article, and to our possible fate: the situation is dire, and every move we make — as individuals, as corporations, as countries — matters in ways we can’t begin to know. It’s absurd that we have to debate the existence of climate change and the legitimate factor that humans play; this is not a partisan issue.
Many have criticized Wallace-Wells for his alarmist tone throughout his article, but I agree with him: we are not alarmed enough. There are too many systems in place that will make solutions painstaking at best. These sentiments — direness, absurdness, and our powerlessness in the face of existing systems — are what inform the motivic and harmonic material of the piece. Absent an Adjustment is ultimately a call to action: human ingenuity must triumph.
I am deeply grateful to have been able to work with Dr. Jolly during the composition of this piece, and that she embraced a challenging work with such vigor, dedication, and attention to detail! — Katherine Bodor
Preach Sister, Preach
Around the time of the first women’s march, I read the Simone de Beauvoir quote, “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.”
I started looking at hundreds of quotes by famous women about women. There were so many brilliant (and funny) quotes that I could have probably composed three more song cycles.
The title of each movement is the name of each woman. I treated every quote with the utmost care and musically gave a nod to either the person, the time period, or an extramusical reference to the text itself — all to celebrate these iconic women and their empowering message.
When Katherine approached me to record this work, I was thrilled to have a fellow CCM alum capture the piece in such a brilliant, graceful, and stunning way! — Evan Mack
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