Wanting to create a rich, musical mosaic expressive of New York City, Jesse Blumberg, Artistic Director of the Five Boroughs Music Festival commissioned 20 songs — themed to Gotham — from twenty leading contemporary composers. The resulting Five Borough Songbook is to have its premiere October 6 at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklynâ€™s Dumbo neighborhood.
Lisa Bielawaâ€™s Breakfast in New York features a text based on conversations overheard in diners all over the city. A Tom Cipullo song, G is for Grimy: An Ode to the G Train is the composerâ€™s good-humored revenge on that notorious subway line. The cycle overall includes an aesthetic balance between the serious and the less so.
Mohammed Fairouzâ€™s Refugee Blues is based on an Auden poem about the unfolding of the Holocaust as considered from American shores. Richard Pearson Thomas wrote both text and music for The Center of the Universe, an exemplar of the one true New York City religion. Blumberg describes Thomasâ€™s song as â€œa real barn burner.â€
Just as all five boroughs are represented among the twenty songs, the cycle is to be presented in each of the five boroughs during the upcoming year. Walt Whitman — a notable condenser and communicator of the cosmic immensity of the metropolis — is featured in the texts of several of the cycleâ€™s songs. Ricky Ian Gordonâ€™s contribution uses a text modified from Whitmanâ€™s poem City of Ships.
Composer Jorge MartÃ¬n, whose opera Before Night Falls met with critical acclaim, explains why he lightly altered Whitmanâ€™s City of Orgies, Walks, and Joys! for his Five Borough Songbook song. â€œWhen Iâ€™ve set Whitman previously, I was purist about it, wanting to remain faithful to the text. But Iâ€™ve decided now to be a little freer, because thereâ€™s something in Whitmanâ€™s rhythms that works when you recite his long rolling lines but that can get lost when you sing them. Set to music, the verse can grow overly wordy. To avoid that, I trim a bit.â€
MartÃ¬n says that Whitmanâ€™s writings are imbued with the poetâ€™s well-documented love for opera. â€œYou can sense that certain poems in Leaves of Grass are like recitative, others like arias, and that throughout, there is a big, operatic sense of pacing. Looking at City of Orgies, Walks, and Joys! I thought, wow, what a terrific first line. And the poem is so Whitman, just right out there with what itâ€™s about. Yet for a time, I was stumped as to the right way into it musically. I was convinced Iâ€™d be setting it for baritone and piano, when I got a reminder e-mail from Jesse that we had a vocal quartet â€“ soprano, mezzo, tenor and baritone â€“ plus a piano and cello. Right then it struck me that using a manâ€™s and a womanâ€™s voice would be very Whitmanesque, given his bi-sexuality. And suddenly, after being stuck for a long time, I conceived of the opening line, City of orgies, in sort of a honky-tonk rhythm, and thought a violin would sound great. The finished composition is for tenor, mezzo, piano and violin. The other serendipitous thing was that in sketching the piece, I kept feeling like I wanted to use the Bach chorale tune, Wachet auf. So I worked it in as a cantus firmus.â€ Cantus firmus, Latin for â€œfixed song,â€ is a pre-existing melody used as a basis for a polyphonic composition. â€œI had to manhandle the chant a bit to make it fit,â€ says MartÃ¬n, â€œand I rather liked the theological implication in this context. In the end, it wound up as a cantus firmus that itself had to be worked, instead of everything else having to work around it.â€ That is to say, it is a cantus not so firmus. â€œItâ€™s a jolly fun piece!â€ MartÃ¬n concludes.
Tickets to the October 6 premiere may be purchased here.
The Queens and Manhattan premieres are scheduled respectively for November 12 and January 12; Staten Island and the Bronx will have their day in May and June.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
In Angry Letter McCarthy Warns Thompson J6 Docs ‘Do Not Belong to You’ – After Defending Trump Taking Classified Info
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in an angry letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned the Chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that his role will end on January 3 and it is “imperative that all information collected be preserved.” The California Republican congressman had a dramatically different position on Donald Trump‘s unlawful retention of well over ten thousand items from the White House, including at least 300 documents with classified markings, including some classified at the highest levels.
McCarthy, who is running to be Speaker of the House but is facing strong opposition from some of the GOP caucus, nevertheless is acting as if he will wield the gavel.
His letter, angry and accusatory in tone, also strongly suggests Republicans will hold their own hearings on the January 6 attack on the Capitol and on democracy, but with a vastly different focus.
“The American people chose Republicans to lead the 118th Congress,” McCarthy’s letter begins. “On January 3, 2023, your work as Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will come to an end,” McCarthy told Thompson in his letter, which was reported on by CBS News.
“For those reasons, I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation in accordance with House Rule VII. As the Chairman, regardless of who may be directing the work of the Committee, you are responsible for the work done by its members and staff.”
Some have suggested that Thompson could transfer some or all of the Committee’s work product – all transcripts and other evidence – to the Senate.
McCarthy continued with his angry attack.
“It is clear based on recent news reports that even your own members and staff of the Committee have no visibility into the totality of the investigation. Some reports suggest that entire swaths of findings will be left out of the Committee’s final report. You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation.”
House Republicans, including McCarthy, spent million dollars on six Benghazi investigations, the last one of which McCarthy admitted was designed to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy bragged in 2015.
Unlike his defense of ex-president Donald Trump unlawfully removing and retaining at Mar-a-Lago approximately 13,000 items belonging to the National Archives from the White House, McCarthy warned Thompson the Committee’s work does not belong to the Chairman.
“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” McCarthy wrote. “The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all of the information you gathered – not merely the information that comports with your political agenda.”
That’s actually false.
The Committee has undoubtedly uncovered government secrets, including national security information, classified information, and information, for example, the Secret Service needs to keep secret to allow it to continue to secure its protectees. It also has entered into agreements with witnesses that prevent it from releasing those documents, transcripts, and other evidence to the public.
Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney says, “Kevin McCarthy’s letter demanding that the Jan. 6 committee preserve its records is mostly nonsense because the committee is planning to release all but a few of its transcripts.”
McCarthy continued, warning: “Although your Committee’s public hearings did not focus on why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021, the Republican majority in the 118th Congress will hold hearings that do so.”
He then served up what some might say is a threat.
“The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye toward encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
18 U.S. Code § 1001 is the federal statute that makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements.
McCarthy had a very different take when the U.S. Dept. of Justice executed a legal search warrant of Donald Trump’s Florida residence and resort, Mar-a-Lago, to retrieve government-owned materials, including classified documents.
“Joe Biden and the politicized Dept. of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump,” McCarthy said on Sept. 1. “That is an assault on democracy.”
“Joe Biden and the politicized Department of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump. That is an assault on democracy.”
— House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, before Biden gives remarks in Philadelphia, attacks the lawful Mar-a-Lago search pic.twitter.com/qDwPSzrYs8
— The Recount (@therecount) September 1, 2022
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Treasury Dept. Finally Hands Over Six Years of Trump’s Tax Returns to Powerful House Committee
The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has finally handed over six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, after the U.S, Supreme Court denied the ex-president’s request to block the document transfer. The powerful House Ways and Means Committee is now in receipt of all six years, according to a Wednesday afternoon report from CNN.
The returns are primarily from Trump’s time as president.
The Committee will need to work quickly, as Republicans will take over the House majority early next year, and the current Chairman, Richard Neal, will no longer serve in that role.
Republicans are expected to end any investigations into Donald Trump, including his tax returns, as they begin investigations into top GOP priorities: Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origin of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
Trump Allies So Shaken by His White Supremacist Dinner a Top Campaign Aide Will Now ‘Be Present With Him at All Times’
Top allies of Donald Trump were so disturbed by his decision to have dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week that the ex-president and 2024 GOP candidate will now have a handler with him around the clock.
The Associated Press also reports the campaign has also changed the protocols for visitors and will start to vet guests who come to see Trump, after the few procedures in place allowed antisemite Kanye West to bring along three guests.
“In an acknowledgment of the severity of the backlash and an effort to prevent a repeat, Trump’s campaign is putting new protocols in place to ensure that those who meet with him are approved and fully vetted, according to people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity to share internal strategy,” the AP adds, revealing the campaign apparently does not trust the 76-year old ex-president to make decisions about who he should or should not spend time with.
“The changes will include expediting a system, borrowed from Trump’s White House, in which a senior campaign official will be present with him at all times, according to one of the people,” the AP adds, revealing what appears to be a previously unknown fact.
The lax security at Mar-a-Lago was in place when Trump was storing 300 documents with various classified markings, including documents with top secret information and a set with the highest level of classification.
In yet another stunning revelation the AP reports that the antisemitic Holocaust “denier” and white supremacist Fuentes “arrived by car with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and was waved into the club by security, even though only Ye had been on the security list, according to one of the people present and others briefed on the events.”
The AP also reports that “Fuentes apparently did not show his ID and the car’s driver, a frequent guest at the club, got in using a credit card after misplacing her license.”
The report does not mention the other two guests Trump dined with, reportedly far right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has supported adult men having sex with young teens, and Karen Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
- News3 days ago
‘Unambiguous Felony’: Trump at Risk in IRS ‘Personal Vendetta’ Audit Investigation – Report
- COMMENTARY3 days ago
Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
- ANALYSIS2 days ago
Trump, Wanting to Change News Cycle, Appears to Confess to ‘Openly and Transparently’ Taking Classified Docs
- News2 days ago
Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law
- News2 days ago
Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade
- News3 days ago
Kellyanne Conway, Who Trump Reportedly Told He Understood He Had Lost to Biden, Testifying Before J6 Committee
- BREAKING NEWS1 day ago
Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate