The Anchoress: An Evening of Music by David Ludwig
The PRISM Quartet presents The Anchoress: An Evening of Music by David Ludwig
The Anchoress, a new monodrama by composer David Ludwig, "a composer with something urgent to say" (Philadelphia Inquirer), will have its New York premiere on Thursday, October 18 at 8 PM at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Cary Hall. Set to texts by Katie Ford, whose poetry "possess[es] the veiled brilliance of stained glass windows seen at night" (The New York Times Book Review), The Anchoress is based on the medieval mystic tradition called anchorism and its relationship to contemporary society. It will be performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, the early music ensemble Piffaro: The Renaissance Wind Band, and all-saxophone PRISM Quartet.
The Anchoress explores struggles with faith, alienation, gender, and social power through the imagined person of a Medieval anchorite. Anchorism as a movement lasted throughout early Christianity to about the time of Shakespeare; and though it was a gender-neutral practice, at its height women anchorites outnumbered men four to one. An anchoress would permanently sequester herself into a small cell an 'anchorhold,' attached to a church. She had one small window through which to speak to townspeople coming to her for guidance. Her daily life resembled a prayerful funereal rite. By withdrawing from the world and choosing a form of death, she became a "living saint" in the eyes of the Church.
Also on the program are three of the composer's earlier works: Our Long War, a song cycle for soprano, violin and piano, and his first collaboration with poet Katie Ford; Josquin Microludes, which was commissioned by PRISM Quartet, and is a set of miniatures that incorporates Josquin's Mille Regretz into its musical language; and Three Anchoress Songs for flute and saxophone, composed as Ludwig was developing The Anchoress song cycle, which will be performed by flutist Mimi Stillman and saxophonist Matthew Levy. Additionally, Piffaro will perform works by Machaut and others arranged by Ludwig. A Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Performance Grant supported the creation of The Anchoress.