Illinois State University alumnus, composer, and sound designer Ross Crean, M.M. ‘00, will premiere three new works at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in the Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall, on the campus of Illinois State University. As part of his artist residency, Crean will also present a public lecture about the three pieces at 2 p.m. March 28 at the University Galleries.
The 7 p.m. performance will feature Schöne Gespielin (Exquisite Playmate), I’ve Chosen Darkness, and Love Songs for the End of the World. “There is a metaphysical component running throughout the series,” Crean said.
Composed for baritone and waterphone, Schöne Gespielin (Exquisite Playmate) narrates through the words of her lover, the passing of an able-bodied dancer into the aether and is based on “Sonnet 25” of poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus. Rilke wrote the sonnets in memory of his daughter’s friend Vera Knoop, who died aged 18. She had been a talented dancer but suddenly stopped, took an interest in music, then died of a glandular disease. Just before she died, Vera said “Now I can dance!” This piece will be performed by Matthan Ring Black, baritone.
Written for contrabass and encapsulated electronics, I’ve Chosen Darkness follows the life of fictional character Vanessa Ives from the television series Penny Dreadful. “I found her constant struggle against the forces of evil the reason why she was so easily sucked in,” Crean writes. “When you are not able to embrace both sides of your nature, eventually the more destructive side takes hold.” This piece was commissioned by and will be performed by bassist Gahlord Deward.
Based on characters created and inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Love Songs for the End of the Word examines the parallels between the Old Ones’ desire for dominion and unrequited love. “The song cycle musically builds on our psychic comfortability, while instilling a sense of cosmic disruption dwelling just beneath the surface of the mind,” Crean writes. “Who hasn’t fallen in love with someone they can’t have? But we don’t all have the ability to crush the minds of those who wronged us. What would you do if you had that power? These poems give us the opportunity to explore the dark longings and ineffectual rage that lives inside all of us while experiencing it in a safe and beautiful way through song and sound.” This piece will be performed by Matthan Ring Black, baritone, with piano and electronics by Crean. The song text has been written by Matthan Ring Black, with R’lyehian interlude text by Crean.
Crean’s artist residency is sponsored by the David and Kay Williams Arts Technology Visiting Artist Program in partnership with the Arts Technology Program and School of Music.
Both the lecture and the performance are free and open to the public. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 West Beaufort St., Normal.
For additional information or to arrange a special accommodation, please contact Aaron Paolucci. Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.