A contemporary monodrama for ancient and modern instruments
Music by David Ludwig, text by Katie Ford
Hyunah Yu, soprano
Piffaro, The Renaissance Band
October 17 [WORLD PREMIERE]
Perelman Theatre, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia
presented by Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
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DiMenna Center for Classical Music, NYC
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a new monodrama by composer David Ludwig, “a composer with something urgent to say” (Philadelphia Inquirer), has its world premiere on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 7:30 PM at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia under the auspices of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. The next evening, Thursday, October 18, the New York premiere takes place at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Cary Hall. Set to texts by Katie Ford, whose poetry “possess[es] the veiled brilliance of stained glass windows seen at night” (The New York Times Book Review), The Anchoress is based on the medieval mystic tradition called anchorism and its relationship to contemporary society. It will be performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, the early music ensemble Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, and all-saxophone PRISM Quartet.
The Anchoress explores struggles with faith, alienation, gender, and social power through the imagined person of a Medieval anchorite. Anchorism as a movement lasted throughout early Christianity to about the time of Shakespeare; and though it was a gender-neutral practice, at its height women anchorites outnumbered men four to one. An anchoress would permanently sequester herself into a small cell an ‘anchorhold,’ attached to a church. She had one small window through which to speak to townspeople coming to her for guidance. Her daily life resembled a prayerful funereal rite. By withdrawing from the world and choosing a form of death, she became a “living saint” in the eyes of the Church.
Also on the program are three of the composer’s earlier works: Our Long War, a song cycle for soprano, violin and piano, and his first collaboration with poet Katie Ford; Josquin Microludes, which was commissioned by PRISM Quartet, and is a set of miniatures that incorporates Josquin’s Mille Regretz into its musical language; and Three Anchoress Songs for flute and saxophone, composed as Ludwig was developing The Anchoress song cycle, which will be performed by flutist Mimi Stillman and PRISM saxophonist Matthew Levy. Additionally, Piffaro will perform works by Machaut and others arranged by Ludwig.
A Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Performance Grant supported the creation of The Anchoress.