As part of its 15th anniversary season celebration, Musiqa announces the release of the world premiere recording of Sebastian Currier and Sarah Manguso’s Deep Sky Objects, a work the organization commissioned and premiered. Scored for soprano, piano quintet and electronics, the vibrant and moving song cycle explores an inter-galactic romance in the distant future. Inspired in part by NASA, the score weaves the sounds of satellites, pulsars, and other evocations of space with the live performers.
The album will be available from all major online retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, and the Google Play store. Physical copies will also be available following the album release party, which will take place after Musiqa’s final concert of the season, May 4 at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
Composer Sebastian Currier is the winner of the 2007 Grawemeyer Award, music composition’s highest international honor. Librettist Sarah Manguso is the acclaimed author of Two Kinds of Decay and Ongoingness. Soprano soloist Karol Bennett—Musiqa’s Resident Artist—has been hailed by the New York Times for her “sumptuous sound, wrenching poignancy and faultless musicianship” and by the Boston Globe for her “ravishing tone and fire of imagination.” She is joined by an accomplished ensemble, including violinists Maureen Nelson, Lisa Burrell, violist James Dunham, cellist Lachezar Kostov, and pianist Tali Morgulis.
Writing about the work, Currier says, “When the piano quintet was in its heyday, the subject that permeated so many of the great Romantic song cycles was that of longing and lost love. Deep-Sky Objects transfers this trope to the outer reaches of the universe. In the cycle a woman sings of her lover who is far away in a remote planet in some unspecified star system. At moments, she remembers a time when they were together, but mostly she longs for him and stoically imagines that his presence, even so remote, gives her hope.”
The cycle alternates between agitated, rhythmically driving songs and more introspective, lyrical ones. In the dramatic third movement “Storm,” Manguso’s text reads:
The fire the sky lets go of
Is my body,
Is my voice…
In contrast, in the tender seventh song “Light”—which Currier sets as a haunting meditation for soprano and electronics– Manguso writes:
A song moves across the black world forever
Which is how I love you.
Taken as a whole, the cycle powerfully depicts longing and desire in the ever-expanding distances of space.
Musiqa commissioned and premiered Deep-Sky Objects with the generous support of a grant from Chamber Music America. This album is Musiqa’s first commercial recording. KUHA’s Brad Sayles did the editing and mastering. The cover art is by celebrated nature photographer Colin Legg.