About the Concert
Strauss Four Last Songs Reimagined
Co-Presented by Trinity Church Wall Street
NOVUS NY and Experiential Orchestra
Sarah Brailey, soprano & Andrew Yee, cello
James Blachly, conductor
Co-presented by Trinity Church Wall Street, Experiential Orchestra joins with NOVUS NY to perform Strauss’s beloved Four Last Songs twice in one evening – first by soprano Sarah Brailey in a traditional performance, then by cellist Andrew Yee in a re-imagined setting, with audience members embedded in the orchestra and lighting design by Takaaki Ando Aki. The evening is completed by a performance with the two soloists of Caroline Shaw’s By and By.
The evening is something of a homecoming, with Sarah Brailey, conductor James Blachly, and composer Caroline Shaw all former members of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Andrew Yee a current principal cellist in member of NOVUS NY.
Experiential Orchestra Music Director James Blachly says, “these songs are so rapturously beautiful, and we want to invite the audience live in this musical sound-world in two exquisite ways. Bringing them to life with two of my very favorite artists will be a dream come true.”
Soprano Sarah Brailey, who won her first Grammy® as a part of EXO’s ground-breaking performance of Ethel Smyth’s The Prison, says, “as a cellist turned soprano, I can confidently say that the cello is the instrument most like the human voice. The Strauss Four Last Songs are some of the most profound songs ever written and I jump at any opportunity to perform them. I am so looking forward to hearing them in the hands of Andrew Yee, and to have a chance to sing the music of our dear friend, Caroline Shaw.”
Cellist Andrew Yee says, “Once on a drive to upstate New York I had put the Four Last Songs on the speakers and was blasting them as I was driving north. A police officer pulled me over and asked if I knew how fast I was going. When I said no, he informed me I was going 110 mph.
The long legato lines and the harmonies are so other worldly, I am always completely transfixed when immersed in the sound. I cannot wait to hear Sarah Brailey sing them with the Experiential Orchestra, and to be part of the immersive experience at the end of the show.
We have decided to pair the Strauss with my good friend Caroline Shaw’s 4 songs about death in their own way. Her cycle By & By is reimagined versions of old songs from the south in a new version for Soprano and solo cello.”
Trinity Church Wall Street Director of Artistic Planning Mel Baker says, “Trinity is excited to welcome home artists from our extended family in a concert that will surround and envelope our audience in the sounds of this stunning music. Andrew, Sarah, Caroline and James are trailblazing musicians and with the stellar Experiential Orchestra and NOVUS NY, this performance is not to be missed!”
Note that once you purchase your ticket, your name will be at the door. If you have purchased a reserved seat and wish to be embedded inside the orchestra, please write to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concert Details TBD
St. Paul's Chapel
The world-première recording of “The Prison,” a choral symphony written in 1930 by the English composer Ethel Smyth, arrives as demands for a more representative, equitable canon are mounting. For too long, Smyth has been relegated to footnote status: an ardent suffragist who was jailed for her efforts and a prominent lesbian, she wrote what was, until 2016, the only work by a female composer to be staged at the Metropolitan Opera (“Der Wald,” in 1903). “The Prison” exerts a metaphysical gravity, not just because of the text by Henry Brewster but also because Smyth’s music calls to mind Brahms, Elgar, and even Mahler at their most visionary and searching. The conductor James Blachly elicits splendid work from the vocal soloists, Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton, and from the Experiential Orchestra and Chorus.