Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Origin Cycle - selections from Darwin's classic set to music at Stanford this thursday!

evt_541_150w.gifvia Dr. Free-Ride comes word of a special Darwinian treat for folks in the San Francisco Bay area: a performance of The Origin Cycle - eight selections from Darwin's On the Origin of Species set to music! The Firebird Ensemble will perform What's more, its a free concert, although you might want to reserve seats in advance. Here's a brief description of the show:

Charles Darwin's Origin of Species is not only one of the most important scientific works of all time, but one of the most beautifully written. In The Origin Cycle, eight contemporary composers set fragments of Darwin's great book to music, for performance by solo soprano and chamber ensemble.

The passages chosen encompass the entire work, capturing the many facets of a Darwinian view of nature, and summarizing what Darwin called the "one long argument" contained in the Origin. They include his most famous and enduring images – the growing "tree of life" connecting all species, the vision of nature as an surface into which wedges are unceasingly struck, and the book's final invocation of "grandeur in this view of life."

The works were commissioned by Jane Sheldon and Peter Godfrey-Smith and funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Although not quite in the Bay area, we are just about within driving range (well, a 3-4 hr drive) to be sorely tempted by this. A friend who lives in the vicinity has already invited us to come for the show and stay over - and our 4th grader Darwinista daughter is sorely tempted to accept that invitation, even if it means playing hooky from school the next day! So it looks like we might be heading that way...

(and as a bonus, I might get to meet Dr. Free-Ride too!)



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