The Book of Never
The Month of Moderns 2020
Thursday, July 2 @ 7pm
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
pre-concert talk with Donald and the composers @ 6pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel
A perpetual journey: ancient, recent, now.
The Book of Never, a world premiere from Aaron Helgeson
on texts of the Novgorod Codex
a world premiere from Tawnie Olson
with major support from the Barlow Foundation
I heard the voices of Children (2019) by Toivo Tulev
on texts of William Blake, a Ballyeamon cradle song,
and names of the lost children of Tuam
a co-commission of The Crossing and the
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Three new works that confront our use of words: writing, naming, calling.
Based on the Novgorod Codex — a 10th-century book of Russian psalms overwritten hundreds of times with heretical sermons — Aaron Helgeson’s The Book of Never confronts our complex present by unearthing phantoms of our ancient past. Dense harmonies build on layered echoes of ancient hymn fragments: a banished monk’s apocalyptic visions of a distant future. Toivo Tulev turns to the eerie mystery often felt in poems of William Blake as he weaves into the musical fabric names of the lost children of Tuam. And Tawnie Olson takes our new commission as an opportunity to hear our own words, or those like us: how we use our voices to refer to others, what it means, and how it feels.