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VIDEO: Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents TERRA NOVA Digital Premiere

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Terra Nova is inspired by a range of ambitious, gritty (and sometimes naïve, cruel, and myopic) explorers.

VIDEO: Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents TERRA NOVA Digital Premiere

Five Boroughs Music Festival and the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor co-present the digital premiere of Terra Nova, a new concert-length song cycle created by the members of composer-collective Oracle Hysterical and performed in collaboration with the contemporary mixed-instrument quartet Hub New Music. Commissioned by Hub New Music and Five Boroughs Music Festival, Terra Nova is inspired by a range of ambitious, gritty (and sometimes naïve, cruel, and myopic) explorers, comprising songs that are by turns darkly ironic, heartrending, and straight-up fun (and occasionally a confounding mix of all three), coalescing into a powerful experience of both text and music. The ensemble recorded the cycle at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor in Staten Island and it received its in-person premiere on May 15 outdoors at the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza.

Watch below!

Among its songs is a playful setting of John James Audubon's descriptions of wood warblers by Brad Balliett; Dylan Greene's depiction of the pre-Columbian exploration of North America by Chinese mariners; a melancholy view from Amelia Earhart's cockpit by Majel Connery; Elliot Cole's haunting setting of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott's final letter home; Doug Balliet's tension-filled spoken-and-sung cantata depicting the ill-fated king Agamemnon's reunion with Clytemnestra; plus many more. These adventurers, captivated by unchartered territory, share an often combustible mix of guts, ego, greed, and unwavering determination, their discoveries ranging from the beautiful to the terrible.

Both the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza and the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor share deep connections with the musical material. Terra Nova will be in its element on the grounds of the library, one of the city's great monuments to the printed word, whose collection contains all of the texts that inspired these new works. The Newhouse Center, by contrast, shares in the songs' spirit and history; now a museum for contemporary art, it was once a dormitory for sailors, with frescoed walls that still read "Rest after dangerous Toil," a 188-year-old space, existing then and now for intrepid explorers and explorations.

Program Information

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Terra Nova (Digital World Premiere)
Filmed at and Co-Produced by the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor
Watch Free on the 5BMF YouTube channel through December 31, 2021
Learn More: https://5bmf.org/events/terra-nova/

Program:

Terra Nova
A collection of songs inspired by new lands, and the people who ventured into them

Majel Connery - All the way down (2021)
Inspired by the musings of Amelia Earhart

Brad Balliett - Wood Warblers (2021)
Excerpts from the writings of naturalist John James Audubon

Doug Balliett - The Spanish Requirement of 1513 (2021)
A Spanish government document declaring the divine right to colonize

Dylan Greene - When China Discovered the World (2021)
Instrumental after the book by Gavin Menzies

Majel Connery - Fallen Angel (2021)
From Milton's Paradise Lost

Doug Balliett - The Gothic Pater Noster (2021)
From the Gothic Bible, ca. 390 AD

Doug Balliett - Agamemnon Crosses the Line (2021)
Loosely based on Aeschylus's Oresteia

Elliot Cole - Terra Nova (2021)
From the journals of Robert Falcon Scott

Oracle Hysterical:
Doug Balliett, bass/viola da gamba
Brad Balliett, bassoons
Majel Connery, keyboards/vocals
Elliot Cole, guitars/keyboards/vocals
Joe Bergen, guest percussion

Hub New Music:
Michael Avitable, flute
Nicholas Brown, clarinet
Alyssa Wang, violin
Jesse Christeson, cello

Sound Engineer: Chris Botta
Videography: Eric Jenkins-Sahlin, Meristem Pictures


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