Ned Rorem oversees a rehearsal with pianists during the 9th Other Minds Festival, San Francisco CA (2003)

Other Minds Festivals ➔ Other Minds Festival: OM 9: Concert 1, An Evening with Ned Rorem (Parts I and II), 3 of 4

Digital Moving Image

Event Type
Other Minds
Program Series
Other Minds Festival
Program Length
167 min
3 of 4
2003-03-05 | created
A video recording of the first half of the first concert of the 9th Other Minds Festival. “An Evening with Ned Rorem”. March 5, 2003, 8:00pm. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco, CA. This concert was dedicated to Ned Rorem’s piece “Evidence of Things Not Seen” and was followed by a tribute to the late Lou Harrison with a performance of “King David’s Lament” featuring the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Before the San Francisco Opera Center Singers take the stage, Charles Amirkhanian makes announcements and introduces the composers of the festival as they line up on for a photograph taken by the festival’s photographer John Fago.

Ned Rorem: Evidence of Things Not Seen (1997) (West Coast Premiere)

“For decades I’ve dreamed of an Art of the Song, a glorified chamber piece for four solo voices with piano, to be presented as an entire program. The challenge would be less musical than theatrical. A composer always has musical ideas or he wouldn’t be a composer; but when he proposes to link these abstract ideas to concrete words - words by authors who never asked to be musicalized - he must find words which (at least for him) need to be sung. If these words are intended for a cycle rather than for a single song then there must be a sense (at least for him) of inevitability in their sequence, because the same song in a different context takes on new meaning. If the chosen words are by different authors, then these authors must seem to share a certain parenting (at least for him) even though they may be separated by centuries. (I say “words” rather than “poems,” since many of the texts I use are prose.)

The order of songs relies on subject matter. The opening group, Beginnings, is just that - songs about moving forward, and the wistful optimism of love, with a concluding hymn-text from the eighteenth century to be sung by a congregation in the morning. (Although an atheist, I am sincere in my dozens of settings of so-called sacred texts; I do believe in Belief, and in the great art, starting with the Psalms of David, that has sprung from religious conviction.) The second group, Middles, about coming of age, horror of war, romantic disappointment, concludes with another hymn, this one for evening. The last group, Ends, about death, concludes with an admonishment from William Penn, echoing a definition of Faith in Corinthians II: ‘Look not to things that are seen, but to that which is unseen; for things that are seen pass away, but that which is unseen is forever.” - Ned Rorem [Excerpted from the composer’s notes reprinted in the concert program.]

Part One: Beginnings
1. From Whence Cometh Song? (Theodore Roethke)
2. The Open Road (Walt Whitman)
3. 0 Where Are You Going? (W. H. Auden)
4. The Rainbow (William Wordsworth)
5. How Do I Love Thee? (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
6. Life in a Love (Robert Browning)
7. Their Lonely Betters (W. H. Auden)
8. His Beauty Sparkles (Paul Goodman)
9. Boy With a Baseball Glove (Paul Goodman)
10. A Glimpse (Walt Whitman)
11. I Am He (Walt Whitman)
12. Love Cannot Fill (Edna St. Vincent Millay)
13. The More Loving One (W. H. Auden)
14. Hymn for Morning (Thomas Ken)

Part Two: Middles
15. I Saw a Mass (John Woolman)
16. The Comfort of Friends (William Penn)
17. A Dead Statesman (Rudyard Kipling)
18. The Candid Man (Stephen Crane)
19. Comment on War (Langston Hughes)
20. A Learned Man (Stephen Crane)
21. Dear, Though the Night (W. H. Auden)
22. Requiescat (Oscar Wilde)
23. Is My Team Ploughing? (Alfred Edward Housman)
24. As I Walked Out One Evening (W. H. Auden)
25. The Sick Wife (Jane Kenyon)
26. Now Is the Dreadful Midnight (Paul Goodman)
27. Hymn for Evening (Thomas Ken)

San Francisco Opera Center Singers; Mark Morash and Monica Vanderveen, piano

Funded in part by Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation.
[Notes taken from the original printed program.]
Art songs
Musical Selections
Evidence of Things Not Seen: Parts One & Two (1997) (52:36) / Ned Rorem
San Francisco Opera Center Singers:
Elizabeth Caballero, soprano
Karen Slack, soprano
Michelle Wrighte, mezzo-soprano
Harold Gray Meers, tenor
Brad Alexander, baritone
Hugh Russell, baritone
Mark Morash, piano
Monica Vanderveen, piano
Art songs
Song cycles
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