Premiere of “On the Threshold of Winter” by Michael Hersch – June 25 at BAM

June 25, 2014, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Fishman Space)
7:30pm

Feature article on Michael Hersch in the New York Times

BAM webpage with info and tickets link

video interview with Miranda Cuckson about Michael Hersch’s music

 

Nicholas Cairns

A new monodrama by Michael Hersch, text by Marin Sorescu
“On the Threshold of Winter”

directed by Roger Brunyate

soprano: Ah Young Hong
conductor: Tito Muñoz
violin: Miranda Cuckson
cello: Julia Bruskin
flute: Susan Palma-Nidel
oboe: Arthur Sato
clarinet: Vasko Dukovski
bass clarinet: Benjamin Fingland
piano: Michael Sheppard
percussion: Matthew Gold

 

Michael Hersch’s newest work is an opera in two acts (ca. 2 hours). Scored for soprano and ensemble of eight, the piece follows the trajectory of Marin Sorescu’s wrenching final work The Bridge, in English translation from the original Romanian. Sorescu [1936-1996], suffering from terminal cancer, wrote The Bridge during a period of barely a month, mostly in hospital, at the end of his life.

Hersch writes:

Completed in 2012, On the Threshold of Winter is my first work for the stage. The search for a text, however, began in earnest much earlier. For various reasons the novels, short stories, plays, biographies, etc., which I had contemplated over the past two decades all in the end proved unworkable to me, primarily due to my own shortcomings. I felt incapable of bringing a musical dimension to each of the works in question. It wasn’t until 2010, when I encountered Adam Sorkin’s and Lydia Vianu’s translation of Marin Sorescu’s devastating last work, The Bridge – which chronicles the final weeks of Sorescu’s unsuccessful battle with cancer – that I knew I had finally found the material I wanted to work with. I did not know of Sorescu before reading this text. I knew nothing of his other work or his history. I simply knew that this slim volume struck and remained with me in unexpected ways.

pic_NRD_052812_hersch

In the words of co-translator Adam J. Sorkin, “These poems … expressions of doubt, reluctant faith, protest … are a testament not just to human mortality and pain, but to resistance and triumph, a creative transformation of the struggle to accept fate and in the same breath attempt to defy its imminent finality … I suspect though, that there is no way to be immune to the harrowing content, even if one tries. The volume progresses chronologically from the beginning of November 1996 onward. A mere five weeks. Most of the poems are dated, and the inexorable momentum of poem after poem toward Sorescu’s death seems to make the book something like a medieval tableau, a dance of death arranged as a procession of still living poems.”
 (artwork above by Nicholas Cairns)