Exploring storytelling through song

Where the Truth Lies

Saturday, March 24 at 8 PM
Historic St. George’s Methodist Church
235 N 4th Street in Philadelphia

Sunday, March 25 at 3 PM
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia

For thousands of years, we have created stories to chronicle, to educate, to entertain, and to explore our identities. Where the Truth Lies begins by exploring stories of conquest and loss through the music of colonialism and warfare. We weave together the programmatic songs of Clément Janequin and Mateo Flecha, bookended by American and Spanish colonial hymns, to show how music can be used as a vehicle of conquest itself. Meanwhile, through the heartbreaking music of Maurice Ravel and Mack Wilberg, we feel how war destroys us by cutting short our stories with the people we love.

Selections by Benjamin Britten, William Billings, Bob Chilcott, and Gustav Holst then take us on a transcendent exploration of devotion, showing us how stories of love, both human and divine, have intertwined and nurtured each other through the ages. As with music and conquest, here we experience music as a vehicle for love, and love as an integral ingredient in music (no more so than in Britten’s Hymn to Saint Cecilia, a complicated love story about music itself). We begin and end our program with the same musing: how do stories take shape—in the telling or the retelling? Our journey closes fittingly with this phrase, beautifully set in a final piece by Dale Trumbore:

Our voices rise and leave, traveling, raveling, veiling
currents across the sea, longing to reach each
Atlantis, locate shapes that sounds recall – call
back the world, as it was first encountered, heard.

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