Tag Archives: poetry

Blue Ridge Reflections: Photos with Matching Poems from Western North Carolina

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When my wife Patricia Joynes sees a morning fog or the beginning of a crimson sunset, she abruptly leaves the house to submit to her passion. She is a nature photographer.

Years ago, when her 35 mm film cameras and her role as family event documentarian became obsolete, Pat turned her attention to nature photography with a small Canon Power Shot S110 digital camera. Her focus was on the Appalachian Mountains near our home around the Blue Ridge Parkway for its natural beauty aesthetics.

Strolling at the Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock Attraction, Blowing Rock, NC

Her first published credits were in books and journals, but her Blue Ridge photographs became recognized in the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina annual calendars (2015, cover in 2016, and three pictures in 2017) and the annual Blue Ridge Parkway calendar (2017, 2018).

Sunset Capture

Pat also published annual family calendars of her nature photos with aphorisms by me in 2016 and 2017. By that date, the edited file of her Blue Ridge-centered photographs exceeded 10,000 images!

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Mayview Park, Blowing Rock, NC

In early 2017, Pat asked me, a published poet, to write poems inspired by specific photographs. We were both amazed at the collaborative results as the first poems emerged. The titles give clues to the content: The Puddle Portal, The Sanctified Bridge, Split-Rail Fence, and Solitary Bench. Week after week, as Pat presented me with other photographs, I wrote matching poems. By mid-September I had completed 29 of them!

The urge to share what seemed to us a remarkable series of creative events caused us to edit and design a collection of 32 photographs and 20 poems titled Blue Ridge Reflections: Photos with Matching Poems from Western North Carolina. The soft-cover edition of the book may be viewed and purchased here.

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Mayview Park, Blowing Rock, NC

 

Here is a sample photo and poem from the book.

Become the First

Become the First

Before there were human eyes to see

there were a millennia of dawns

and foggy mountain wooded sunsets

whose nascent glory went unreported.

 

From any high Blue Ridge vantage point

creation unfolds in waves of light,

and time is a cycle of the sun

that produces growth and the promise

of life in its regular passing.

 

What was it like to be the first to see

the distant waves of an evergreen sea?

What was the valley fog assumed to be?

And what monsters did they prepare to flee?

 

Primal emotions are felt in all ages

as the wild universe is explored.

A ravens’ rock becomes sacrosanct

in a landscape bereaved of doors.

Rejoice that the search for tomorrows

is still the possibility of today.

Become the first to reach the mountaintop

and see its natural wonders on display.

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The Making of an Opera

Monty at table

Monty Joynes

The writing of the lyric poetry that is the libretto of an opera is a major work of artistic endeavor.  The libretto tells a dramatic story that will be sung by vocal artists in arias, duets, quartets, and choruses accompanied by a symphony orchestra in a setting that challenges the decorative staging arts. The librettist can only imagine the performance of his operatic creation, but unless a gifted composer is attracted to the work, it will never soar off the page. If an opera libretto takes a year to write before a composer is engaged, what is the scope of the collaboration as the music takes shape as a score?  Here’s my story of the making of an opera.

 

My entry into classical music as a librettist began with the lyric poetry of an oratorio titled The Awakening of Humanity based on the metaphysical journey of American Indians in my five Booker Series novels. Composer Edmund Barton “Bart” Bullock, after reading my novels, suggested our collaboration and began the oratorio score in 2008. Its first two movements were performed three times in 2015 in France where he lives and works as a composer and concert pianist. The world premiere of the completed work is being planned for 2019. The Awakening of Humanity has gone through four revisions that required me to rewrite lyrics to better serve the music.  These revisions required Bart to make annual trips from France to my home in North Carolina where we collaborated side by side.

07 With composer Edmund Barton Bullock (2016)

 

When I realized that I could write for classical music and work in this challenging medium, I set out to write an opera libretto adapted from Save the Good Seed, the third novel in my Booker Series.  The drama of the novel concerned the forced adoption of a Pueblo Indian child by an Anglo couple and his return as an adult to his New Mexico birth tribe to seek his true identity. It took a full year to learn the structural form of opera and to write the lyric poetry of the three-act libretto.  The composer of my oratorio liked the opera libretto, but he was years away from completing our project and other commissions to consider composing it.  And so the Save the Good Seed libretto remained on the shelf as I went on to write and publish books. Save the Good Seed cover 2

I had established a friendship with Dawn Bailiff during annual reunions staged by our mutual publisher Bob Friedman (Hampton Roads Publishing) at his home in Faber, Virginia. I knew that Dawn had been a concert pianist prodigy who had made a world performance tour at the age of eighteen. She had performed with the world’s most renowned conductors and symphony orchestras. Unknown to me at the time, her composer credits included the libretto and score for an opera in German that was staged in the major German opera houses. Dawn’s heritage is German-Japanese, and she is fluent in five languages. (She is a great conversationalist!)  Tragically, at the height of her amazing classical music career, Dawn was struck down by Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

 

When Dawn was seated next to me at our annual luncheon at the historic Michie Tavern near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, I mentioned the recent completion of my opera libretto. She asked to read it, and I sent it to her the following week. I was amazed by her response when she asked me to assign it to her for composition. In my respect and affection for Dawn, I agreed; but as her struggle with MS was too often critical, I realized that I could not pressure her in our collaboration.

piano clip art

There was also the problem of Dawn not having access to the computers and software used by contemporary composers. The investment would cost thousands of dollars that neither of us could afford. Dawn supported herself in those days by teaching advanced piano students. Later she would become an Adjunct Professor of London’s Royal Conservatory of Music. The RCM holds summer workshops in cities across the United States for gifted young talent.

Somewhere around mid-2015, Dawn advised me that she had acquired the electronic tools for composing . She was too busy to elaborate. She has never been chatty in her infrequent emails, so I sent congratulations and hoped for progress on our opera. Two years later, in May 2017, Dawn sent me a shocking email after I had requested an “annual” update.Sunroom and Smoke

After months of silence she wrote, “I have completed the music for Seed and copyrighted it so please don’t bring in another composer on that opera. It is already written. Just waiting for an opportunity to record.”  There was a catch. She did not want me to hear the score until we could hear it together. She would travel to Boone, North Carolina, my home, as soon as her RCM workshop season was over.

Watch for updates on this blog as Save the Good Seed, the opera, progresses on the road to performance. To understand the great honor of having Dawn Bailiff compose my opera libretto, take a look at her resume.

Dawn BailiffDawn Bailiff was hailed by Leonard Bernstein for the “veracity . . . and sublimity of her artistry,” when she was just ten years old.  Formerly a world-class concert pianist, Bailiff has become a translator, professor, inspirational speaker, disability advocate, and author (Notes from a Minor Key—a Memoir of Music, Love, and Healing) since her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

For more than a decade, Bailiff soloed with most of the major symphonies and philharmonics on five continents, including Berlin, Vienna, Prague, London, Tokyo, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with such notable maestros as Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Eugene Ormandy, and Sir Georg Solti.

As a composer, her works have received numerous performances by: Austin Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Internationale Junge Orchestra Akademie  (Bayreuth), Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra (SW Poland on the Oder River), Quintessence Chamber Ensemble  (Phoenix, AZ), and Cimarron Circuit Opera Company (Norman, OK).

Her opera, Anblicke des Himmels und der Hölle (for which she wrote the libretto in German) was performed as a collaborative effort between major opera companies in Berlin, Dresden, and Stuttgart.

At the age of eighteen, Bailiff toured thirty-two cities in six months, playing in such exotic locations as Bayreuth, Wurzburg, Wroclaw, Istanbul, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

Both she and her music have been featured on North German Radio (NDR) in Hamburg, Czech-Slovak Radio (CSR) in Bratislava, BBC World Service Radio, CBC Radio Canada, CTV (Canada), YTV (Canada), Good Morning Canada, A.M.Philadelphia, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio (WHYY).

Fluent in five languages and competent in several others, Dawn Bailiff has worked as both a translator and Internet marketing consultant for Fortune 500 companies, as well as an academic translator of Rudolph Steiner, G.W. F. Hegel, and Martin Heidegger. She has also been a successful journalist, technical writer, banking officer, college professor, and small business owner. Bailiff holds an undergraduate degree in music from the esteemed Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as graduate degrees from the University of Vienna, Austria. She is also the author of Using Music to Teach Math, Foreign Language, and Technical Skills—Incorporating the Anthroposophic Principles of Rudoph Steiner (written in German).  Bailiff ’s most recent translation credit is Cosmic Ordering: The Next Adventure by Barbel Mohr.

 

 

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Bob Dylan, Rejected

bob_dylan_-_bob_dylanIt was a Sunday afternoon at a University of Virginia fraternity house located in a cluster of frat houses that overlooked an intramural field depression known as “Mad Bowl” when I met Bob Dylan and witnessed him rejected as a folk singer and song writer.

The year was 1961, and Dylan had been brought to the fraternity house by folk singer, folklorist, and mentor Paul Clayton who had friends there. Clayton was a UVA grad with a master’s degree in folklore. Since the mid-1950s, Clayton had traveled the Southern Appalachian Highlands in search of traditional folksongs that were in danger of extinction. As a scholar and archivist, he recorded these treasures on site and then sang many of them himself on 21 albums released between 1954 and 1965. In folk music circles from New York City to Los Angeles, Paul Clayton was a prominent figure in the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s.

paul-claytonClayton’s purpose on that Sunday afternoon was to have newcomer Bob Dylan and recorded folk singer Carolyn Hester sing a few songs as a measure of their live performance abilities. It was easy to pull the frat boys away from the ball game on television once they got an introduction to Carolyn Hester. She was 24 years old at the time and Hollywood gorgeous. Hester had already released two albums and was being compared to folk music star Joan Baez. Clayton was helping her with her live performance guitar playing, which was weak at the time. Hester stood against the living room wall and performed two unremembered songs. Her singing was strong and beautiful, but she missed some chords in the accompaniment.

Clayton then encouraged the shy, downcast, tousle headed, disheveled 20-year-old Bob Dylan to uncase his guitar and sing a couple of his original songs. Perhaps in over 50 years of retrospect it is wishful thinking, but I swear that one of the songs that he performed was “Blowin’ in the Wind.”  Although Dylan would become “the voice of his generation,” his singing voice has been described as, “raw, seemingly untrained, and frankly a nasal voice” by Joyce Carol Oates among others. Dylan was also accused of imitating Woody Guthrie’s earthy vocal mannerisms which were also termed “iconoclastic baying.”

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Mad Bowl, UVA

The frat boys that Sunday found Dylan’s singing to be both incomprehensible and downright irritating.  Someone turned the television set back on to the ball game, and there were insincere smiles and gestures that communicated to the performers that their leave taking was in order. Clayton’s fraternity friend made an awkward apology as the three folk singers exited the scene of their embarrassment.

Soon after the fraternity house debacle, Carolyn Hestercarolyn-hester invited Bob Dylan to play harmonica on sessions for her third album at Columbia Records.  At a rehearsal session, Dylan met celebrated record producer John Hammond who signed him to a recording contract. Dylan’s first album on Columbia Records was released on March 19, 1962. The album made a great impression in the folk music community, but it was not commercially successful.

the-freewheelin-bob-dylan

Dylan’s second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, released in May 1963, however, featured “Blowin’ in the Wind” as its first cut. If Dylan could not make his songs famous, then cover groups like Peter, Paul and Mary, The Byrds, Sonny and Cher, The Hollies, and many others could. The Beatles themselves reported listening to the Freewheelin’ album until they wore it out.

Since being rejected by the UVA frat boys in 1961, Bob Dylan has sold more than 100 million records. No songwriter, past or present, has received so many awards and honors.  A partial list includes The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991), The Kennedy Center Honor (1997), an Academy Award Oscar for Best Song (2001), the Pulitzer Prize (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012), and the Nobel Prize for Literature (2016).

There are perhaps a dozen men now into their 70s who may remember Bob Dylan from their fraternity house encounter in 1961. Fortunately, their rejection of the young artist did not kill his creative spirit. What if they had encouraged him? No telling to what heights he might have risen then.

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Canine Companions

Our canine companions Heidi and Mili

 In moving through life everyday there are events that move us emotionally.  For the writer, there are vehicles of expression that offer us release and celebration.

 My wife Pat and I have enjoyed the companionship of dogs for most of our lives.  We begin each morning in our sunroom with a coffee klatch that includes our two dogs—Mili, a Tibetan spaniel, and Heidi, a mountain feist—who find their way to our laps.  Mili came from our Humane Society and was saved from third-stage heartworms, and Heidi is a strayed and stayed who arrived at our door pregnant with what soon became five puppies.

 Prior to Mili and Heidi, we had Angel, another Humane Society shelter adoption.  Angel was a black border collie mix who was our constant companion at work or leisure for 14 years.  In our front yard garden there is a granite memorial headstone and a black wooden silhouette of her that has her former collar around its neck.

I share this emotional attachment to our own dogs in order to explain why I was so moved by a totally unexpected event while visiting a close friend at her veterinary clinic.  Unable to contain what I had witnessed and felt, I wrote this poem.

 Old Samoyed Whose Name I Did Not Know           

I did not expect to put you down

Old Samoyed whose name I did not know.

You lay on the treatment table

As I came through the clinic’s back door,

And my veterinary friend looked up

To explain that she had just put you to sleep.

I assumed she meant preparation for surgery

Because your thick white fur seemed so alive,

But then I saw the assistant approach

With a solemn expression and the brown plastic bags.

Your head was massive and expressionless.

You were immaculate, obviously loved,

But soon to disappear to light

As they bowed your muzzle, subdued your bushy tail,

And made an unstable package of you

With the dark wrinkled bags and coarse hemp twine.

I was asked to bear your hundred-pound weight

At one end of an unpainted plywood board,

And we shuffled with you to the bed of a pick-up truck

And followed your masters to your affluent home.

I supported you again to the far back yard

Where your master removed the sod

And made shovel prints in the Tennessee clay

That became slick gray murals swirled with red oxides.

He dug the hole, spading the earth

And breaking its back on the accumulating pile.

Not long or wide enough for a man,

A baby’s grave, dug deep in the memory of the soil.

You were nine, he said, the best dog

That they had ever had, and we continued

To measure your life against the hole to put you down.

Me, a stranger to your joys, bore witness

To your strength and beauty seconds after death.

Your masters grieve, and yet they have memories

Of you while I grieve who never saw you run,

Who arrived only in time to put you down,

Old Samoyed whose name I did not know.

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Poetry for a Very Special Occasion

Danielle and Perry

Our family has an annual summer reunion that in recent years has been hosted by Annalisa, the daughter with the biggest house.  My sister Rita and my first cousin Ruth, as activity and entertainment directors of the three-day event, plan complex games for the children and inspiring rituals for the adults.

This year the family reunion was also billed as an engagement party for our third daughter Danielle and her fiancé Perry.  Among the written instructions issued by Rita were that we send photographs of Danielle for a display table and that we prepare to stand and deliver a congratulatory and inspiring message to the betrothed couple.  The extroverts among us relished the idea of expounding within that formal circle while the introverts struggled for what they might say.

My wife Pat, as usual, had the solution for our contribution to the program.  I would write a meaningful poem that she could illustrate and put into a fine-arts frame for perpetual display.  A poem on demand?  I hoped for inspiration.  I also knew that I could not perform whatever I wrote due to my reputation for emotionality, so Pat agreed to read the yet unwritten poem.

I could not bring myself to the poetic task for weeks, and Pat despaired of my writing the poem with time enough for her to frame it prior to the June 24 scheduled event.  Then unexpectedly, in the last week prior to the trip, I found the words.

Here then for Danielle and Perry, to be married on November 11, and for you readers in the category of “where do poems come from?” is The Blessing Tree.

Rhododendron in bloom

 The Blessing Tree 

 This spring the large rhododendron

Beside our driveway bloomed                          

Like it never had before

In hundreds of pink flowers

That clustered in magnificent bouquets.

The tree seemed to reach out

To everyone who passed

With a blessed reminder

Of how life can be                                               

Walked in beauty.

The season of magnificence

In the rhododendron passes,

But its blessing continues

In the promise of another year.

Human beings also flower                         

In their evolving

Toward a greater capacity

For blessing each passerby.

They grow into unions

That bless their families

Through marriage, and what love

They express is returned

To them like the bounty

Of our rhododendron tree

In blossoms too numerous to count.

We now look upon Danielle and Perry

As both the givers and

The receivers of many blessings,

And we celebrate the blooming

Of their love and ours

With them in the perfect experience

Of a wondrous season

Where the blessing tree

Is our family tree.

 

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Meeting Robert Frost

Robert Frost, 1959 - Photo by Gordon Parks, LIFE

In 1960, when I was in my second year at the University of Virginia, poet Robert Frost came to the Grounds for the dedication of the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature that had assembled the most complete collection of Frost’s works ever brought together.  There was an elegant dinner at Carr’s Hill, the U.Va. president’s mansion, followed by what was expected to be a brief appearance by Frost at Cabell Hall auditorium.

I must have had some ushering responsibilities that night, because I arrived early and secured prime seats for myself and my roommate Ted Wolfe, who carried a volume of Frost’s collected works that he desperately wanted autographed.  The auditorium filled to capacity, and then the student overflow was allowed to occupy the wings of the stage where, grateful for their surprise positions, they sat shoulder to shoulder on the hardwood floor.  My duties done, I took my seat next to Ted and waited for America’s most awarded poet to arrive.

In 1960, Robert Frost was 86 years old and considered infirm.  A few months following his appearance at U.Va., in January 1961, Frost would recite his poem “The Gift Outright” at the John Kennedy presidential inauguration.  He would be the first poet so honored, but his appearance almost turned into a disaster.  Supported to the podium, Frost attempted to read the poem from a folded sheet of paper that he took from his inside coat pocket, but the cold winter wind and the glare of the sun made the reading impossible.  Frost struggled as a nation watched in sympathetic horror.  Then he put away the paper and recited the entire poem from memory.  The image of Frost’s recovery and triumph is iconic in inauguration history and, for me, more memorable than Kennedy’s most quoted end note of that speech:  “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”

The reason I so warmly embrace Frost’s inauguration triumph over physical vulnerability and potential humiliation is because I had witnessed his amazing strength that night in Cabell Hall.  I forget who introduced Frost.  In memory, I see him enter the stage from the wings on the arm of a black man dressed in what appeared to be a chauffeur’s uniform.  The students seated on the floor slid on their behinds to make way.  At the podium, Frost had three worn books of his collected poetry.  I had been told by one of the stage managers that Frost would speak for no more than fifteen minutes.  And how could he be expected to do more after such a long ceremonial day?  Looking at the old white-haired man bent with age, I guess most of us in the audience expected the reading of a few poems and nothing more.  Certainly there would be no question and answer period that we had come to expect from our on-Grounds writer-in-residence William Faulkner.

Frost removed a folded sheet of paper from his inside suit coat pocket, considered its content, and then returned it to the pocket.  He had not said a word, and the audience paused in suspended animation for what he might do next.  Then in a very gentle, conversational voice, Frost recounted how he had leaned back during the limousine ride to the auditorium, and through the curved rear window, observed the evening star.  He said that seeing it reminded him of how important the evening star had been in his poetry, so he decided to put away his prepared remarks and read a few of the poems inspired by that star. 

He then began to search through the three books for the poems that came to mind, and a remarkable transformation began to occur.  As he read, his posture became more erect, his voice stronger.  And although he began reading a poem from an open book, by the second or third line, his eyes came up, and he was reciting from memory.  Oh, my God, the poetry came alive in an experience of profound revelation.  The familiar ones like “Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken,” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” were never so wonderfully satisfying, and all the others so attuned to our youthful souls.  Frost astounded us with his strength as a lifetime of creative energy welled up in him.  And then, with the last poem recited and more than an hour passed, his gigantic aura receded, and his body slumped back into its previous form of old age.  In awe, even as we stood and applauded, we saw him helped across the stage as one might support an invalid.

Ted grabbed my arm and begged me to take him backstage where Frost might autograph the book he had brought.  When we got near to Frost, he was still being supported by the same man in the uniform as they made their way toward the exit.  Considering his vulnerability, I was very reluctant to bother Frost for an autograph, but Ted insisted.  Imagine my audacity as I introduced Ted to Frost and asked him to sign Ted’s book.  Frost only mumbled, and with a trembling hand and stub-nosed pencil, he scrawled something almost illegible onto the title page of the book.  Seeing Frost backstage, it was impossible to believe that this was the same man who had held an audience spellbound for over an hour.  We could only rationalize that what we had witnessed was a divine expression of the creative life force.  Then, later at Kennedy’s inauguration, we saw the power again, and perhaps we wept at the natural wonder of a creative man like Robert Frost.

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The Celestine Prophecy Connection

Bart and Monty reviewing music and lyrics for THE AWAKENING OF HUMANITY oratorio

When James Redfield made the concept of synchronicity clear in his novel The Celestine Prophecy, people all over the world began to recognize it in their personal lives.  The ostensibly chance meeting between a classical music composer and me is a great example of synchronicity at work to achieve significant results.  In the summer of 2006 a native North Carolina composer and concert pianist named Edmund Barton (Bart) Bullock, who has lived in France since 1978, was staying in a donated mountain cottage near Boone to practice his piano concerto for scheduled concerts in 2007.

A reader of The Celestine Prophecy, Bart felt a sudden and strong urge to obtain a copy of the film adapted from the book.  A few nights after the viewing the movie, he was at a dinner party where he described the unusual urge to his tablemates.  One of them told Bart that he had recently been on a quiet Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trail when he encountered an acquaintance, Pat Joynes.  In the brief conversation, Pat mentioned that her husband (me) had his book The Celestine Prophecy: The Making of the Movie published. He told Bart that I lived in the area and that an introduction could be made to bring us together.

Telephone conversations led to informal dinner parties where Bart played his Appalachian Concerto privately for us.  Then Pat and I attended a summer concert where Bart performed his own compositions with a chamber group, and we obtained copies of his CDs.  In turn, Bart read my four Booker Series novels and the Celestine movie book.

By early 2007 Bart and I felt that the synchronicity of our meeting should lead to a classical music collaboration.  We decided on the form of an oratorio for four featured soloists, chorus, and symphony orchestra.  I went to the Hayes School of Music library at Appalachian State University to study the libretti of oratorios; and by December 2007, I had written the libretto for The Awakening of Humanity in six movements.

In early 2010 the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra and the Hickory Chorale Society became the initial financial supporters for Bart to compose our oratorio.  Public arts agencies and private donors would make up the balance of the commission, and our premiere target date was April 2012.  And then the recession decapitated the arts funding agencies, and all the commissioning support that we anticipated disappeared.  Nevertheless, Bart completed the first two movements of our oratorio, and the music was wonderful.

Bart returned to the US from France twice to work through lyric changes in the second movement, and I had to rewrite entire passages of the poetry to fit Bart’s music.  Trust me, I never felt so inadequate in my writing life; but through Bart’s patience and encouragement, I actually improved on the libretto.  I also learned that poetic meter on the page is not the same as beats in a piece of choral and solo voice music.

With the libretto and the music for the first two movements available to share, Bart’s colleagues in France rallied to support the completion of the oratorio and its ultimate performance.  The Toulouse Conservatory of Music, a center for classical music in France and all of Europe, endorsed our oratorio project and offered an exchange of musicians and singers with an American music school to facilitate its performance.  The emerging possibility is for as many as three performances in France at world-class venues and two performances in the US.  The Franco-American cultural exchange, however, will again depend on financial underwriting by both institutional and private sources so that Bart can complete the composition.  The hope is for a full score by June 2012 with orchestrations soon to follow, and a premiere and subsequent performances in February and March 2013.

Pat and I are among those who consider Bart a musical genius as a composer and as a pianist.  You can see and hear him play his own compositions with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and in solo recitals at www.edmundbartonbullock.com.

Monty and Bart resize

Bart and Monty

 

2016 Update

When the funding for The Awakening of Humanity dried up, Bart returned to concert performing and commissioned composing, and I wrote two books that were published in 2014 and 2015. There was, however, interest in the completed score of the first two movements, and they were performed three times (January and July 2015) in France by the Ensemble Vocal Unité under the artistic direction of Christian Nadalet. A professional DVD of one of the concerts was made with subtitles in both English and French. It can be seen and heard here.

Bart continues to be recognized as a significant composer. In 2014, the Danish Royal Family commissioned Bart to compose and perform a song cycle based on the Prince Consort’s poetry. In 2015, Bart completed a Te Deum commissioned by the Catholic Church that will be premiered with an 80-voice choir on April 17, 2016, in the cathedral at Auch, France.

Interest in performing the completed oratorio, The Awakening of Humanity, has been expressed in both France and the United States. The orchestras and choruses, however, while willing to underwrite the performances, do not have the resources to commission the final four movements and its orchestrations. Bart and Monty need funding for a six-month period that can be entirely devoted to completing the work. They hope that patron support and participation in 2016 will allow them to complete the oratorio and schedule premiere performances in both the United States and France in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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