An American Songbook at Brunel Museum And Engine House

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A compelling recital for mezzo soprano and piano exploring, celebrating and debating 20th and 21st century American culture, society and politics, including ambitious commissions from both sides of the Atlantic, extracts from Michael Finnissy's exquisite song cycle 'Whitman' and UK premieres of three Morton Feldman songs. This collaboration between mezzo soprano Lucy Goddard, pianist Siwan Rhys and composers Laura Bowler and Christopher Mayo surveys American life from a British/Canadian perspective: A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Bowler offers a kaleidoscopic vision of American society, using texts by writers including Elizabeth Stanton, Gertrude Stein, Gloria Steinham, Fanny Fern and Patti Smith to create a musical collage of life in America, both now and in the past. Canadian composer Christopher Mayo uses Mina Loy's essay Universal Food Machine to take us into a striking futuristic world, inhabited by strange new sounds and even stranger rituals. At a potentially regressive time for women's rights in the US, following Trump's appointment in spite of clear misogynistic rhetoric, both new commissions promise to prompt debate and uncover some interesting truths. The duo will also perform extracts from British composer Michael Finnissy's epic and rarely-performed Whitman, having worked with the composer during a Snape Maltings residency in August. It seems particularly fitting to perform this work (which takes as its principle text Whitman's Leaves of Grass) in this, the 50th anniversary year of the partial legalization of homosexuality in the UK. The programme will include works by Charles Ives, Ruth Crawford Seeger, John Cage, Milton Babbitt and George Crumb. The duo will give UK premieres of three songs by Morton Feldman the 30th anniversary of whose death is this year. Lucy Goddard is extremely grateful to Arts Council England, Snape Maltings, PRS for Music Foundation, RVW Trust and Hinrichsen Foundation for their generous support of this project.

Venue Details & Map

Brunel Museum and Engine House Rotherhithe

Railway Avenue
SE16 4LF
+44 (0)20 7231 3840
Public transport:
Turn left into Brunel Rd and then first left into Railway Ave.

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