Let’s make it a musical Sunday morning for the godless! Tristero, occasional commenter here and regular writer at Hullabaloo, is actually a professional composer in real life, and he has been busy.
I had wanted to do a piece with a scientific subject for a very long time. Many years ago, someone in the New Yorker- very likely Richard Dawkins – noted that while religion had its masterpieces like Bach’s St Matthew Passion, science had no comparable works. That struck me as an amusing, and exciting, challenge. I knew I could never write anything remotely approaching the St. Matthew, but the notion of setting to music a classic scientific text really stuck in my mind. The question was: which one? Galileo’s Starry Messenger? Newton’s Principia (which I had already used in a dance piece)? Einstein’s first paper on relativity?
A few years later, I had a big argument with a close and very smart friend, who argued that “intelligent design” creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes. I was so shocked that my friend had been bamboozled that it reawakened my interest in evolution and Darwin. I started to follow closely the social “controversy” – as you know, there is no controversy about the reality of evolution – and have posted many times about the issue.
So, he has written an opera-oratorio based on the life of Charles Darwin that will premier at SUNY Oswego for Darwin Day … and he’s made a few excerpts available right now! There are youtube clips from the introduction and a piece called “Annie’s Memorial”; the first one is illustrated with photographs of the Galápagos taken by my fellow traveler, Scott Hurst (I believe his photographs will also be shown in the performance).
It’s good stuff — you should also check out some of Tristero’s other music.