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Crescendo Choir and Bard College at Simon’s Rock faculty and students to present a multimedia premiere, with performances in Gt. Barrington and Lakeville

Dance and animation bring to life Hugo Distler music and its inspiration, a medieval fresco lost to the bombs of WWII

GT. BARRINGTON – Hugo Distler’s haunting “Totentanz” (“Dance of Death”), Op. 12/1 (1934), will receive a full multimedia treatment when the Crescendo Choir and Bard College at Simon’s Rock faculty present it in Gt. Barrington and Lakeville, Conn., on Nov. 9 and 10.  The performances will bring to life – with music, dance and animation – the work’s inspiration: A medieval fresco lost to the bombs of World War II.     

The Distler work sets to music 14 motets about life and death, with speakers portraying Death and other allegorical characters.  The Crescendo Choir and soloists will perform it in front of an animated projection of a medieval Dance of Death mural that was housed in St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck, Germany, and was destroyed in the 1940’s. 

John Myers, a faculty member of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, with artist Alice Myers, painstakingly recreated and animated the 1460 Lübeck mural, assisted by Danish scholar Martin Hagstrøm. Wendy Shifrin, also a Simon’s Rock faculty member, has created choreography to Distler’s music for 13 student dancers.      

Other works on the program are Distler’s motet “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,” Op. 12/6, and the Leonhard Lechner motet “Deutsche Sprüche über Leben und Tod” (1606), a meditation on life and death that also inspired Distler’s “Totentanz.”        

The program will conclude with two other variations on “Wachet auf,” the joyful Lutheran hymn for All Souls’ Day, Johann Sebastian Bach’s prelude for organ, BWV 645, and the well-known chorale from his Cantata 140.        

Soprano soloists from Chorus Angelicus, based in Torrington, Conn., will also participate, along with flutist Rodrigo Tarraza of Lenox, Mass.  German conductor Christine Gevert of Lakeville, Conn. is artistic director of the project.    

Crescendo is a music performance organization based at Trinity Episcopal Church, Lakeville.  The concerts are scheduled for Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main Street, Gt. Barrington;  and Saturday, November 10, at 5 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal, 484 Lime Rock Rd., Lakeville.

Tickets are $25 and $10 for children.  In Great Barrington at the door, tickets are $5 for Simon’s Rock students.  For information, call 860-435-4866.

The performance will also be recorded on DVD for presentation in March, 2008, in Florence, Italy, at the annual convention of the European Cultural Association of the Danse Macabre.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706
E-mail: bdellarocca@simons-rock.edu