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a far cry / feeling new strength

March 7, 2021 @ 2:00 pm

Longy Logo


March 7, 2021
2:00 pm


Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

In Beethoven’s transcendent Heiliger Dankgesang (“Holy Song of Thanksgiving”), following the opening meditative chorale, he inscribes into the score the words “Neue Kraft Fühlend,” or “Feeling New Strength,” as the music erupts into an exuberant dance, representing his recovery from a serious illness. The rest of the program grapples with this theme of strength through struggle, from Josquin’s haunting depiction of Christian redemption through crucifixion; to Jessie Montgomery’s exploration of Black spirituals as the DNA undergirding the dance gestures of Alvin Ailey, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the works of other Civil Rights-era Black artists; as well as Matana Roberts’s and Caroline Shaw’s gritty and imaginative responses to contemporary displacement crises. All these works double down on music’s power to describe those struggles we most fear or that we might be blind to, and to find strength and grace in doing so.