Notes on Fiction: Heart of Darkness
Monday May 18, 2015
More than a novel, Heart of Darkness is like an extended symbolic poem, affecting the reader with the breadth of its ideas as well as the beauty of its words. Drawing upon powerful 20th and 21st Century musical compositions, harpist Jennifer Ellis and mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen created a stark and multifaceted performance based on the themes in the historic novel.
Written by Joseph Conrad on the eve of the century that would see the end of the empire that the novel so significantly critiques, Heart of Darkness is both an adventure story set at the center of a continent represented through breathtaking poetry, as well as a study of the inevitable corruption that comes from the exercise of tyrannical power.
Through musical performance and readings from the novel, the Ihnen and Ellis explored tranquility, amazement, darkness, and the unknown.
About the Artists
Mezzo-Soprano Megan Ihnen and harpist Jennifer R. Ellis share a commitment to excellence in new music performance, tireless experimentation, and creative audience-building. After collaborating at the Bang on a Can and Fresh Inc summer festivals, they formed a harp and voice duo centered on interarts collaboration. In their concerts, they seek to tie new music for voice and harp to its intersections in the larger arts community.
Ariel's Hail (text by Shakespeare, with flutist Brandon Patrick George) - Kaija Saariaho
Mol'e - William Grant Still
Haï-kaï (2012) - Alan Theisen (Text by Rilke)
Whispers of Heavenly Death (1992) - Vivienne Olive (text by Walt Whitman)
In a Landscape - John Cage
Wild Angels of Open Hills - Schwanter - (text by Ursula LeGuin, with flutist Brandon Patrick George)