PANIC, a song cycle for baritone, piano, and electronic playback
©2010 Todd Boss A poetic retelling of Pan by Knut Hamsun
©1894 Knut Hamsun from the English translation by Sverre Lyngstad
©1998 Sverre Lyngstad. Some passages used verbatim by permission.
World Premiere performance: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Macalester Plymouth United Church, St. Paul, MN
$20 General Admission
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Carleton College Concert Hall
1 N College St, Northfield, MN 55057
PANIC: a groundbreaking new song cycle by acclaimed composer Andy Vores and poet Todd Boss.
Directed and choreographed by David Walsh, with projected images by Lynn Lukkas and dancers from University of Minnesota.
Performed by Florestan Recital Project: Aaron Engebreth, baritone & Alison d’Amato, pianist.
In collaboration with University of Minnesota’s School of Music, Florestan Recital Project presents a multi-disciplinary song cycle based on the novel Pan by Nobel-winning Norwegian author Knut Hamsun.
Set to a new libretto by Minneapolis poet Todd Boss, PANIC explores the themes which Hamsun vividly presents such as solitude, longing and madness. Vores’s music combines a vivid contemporary soundscape with a pillar of classical music tradition, the narrative solo song cycle.
Composer’s notes, by Andy Vores
Panic is a monodrama for baritone, piano, and electronic soundtrack. I had been wanting to write a substantial narrative song cycle but couldn't find a contemporary cycle that wasn't too specifically about the poet. I wanted to echo Schubert's Die Schöne Mullerin but I didn't want to use texts that Schubert himself might have chosen to set. Poet Todd Boss and I became acquainted in 2009 and I asked if he would be interested in turning Hamsun's novella into a cycle of poems. Luckily, he was interested, and the next year I had these wonderful poems to set. Not only is the poetry itself rich and multi-layered, but the dramatic pacing was a gift to a composer. Todd has recast Knut Hamsun's Pan as Panic, a narrative cycle of 34 poems, full of the intensity, complex emotional range, and extremes of mood found in Hamsun's novel but made the retelling his own.
Here is the text from the book jacket of Sverre Lyngstad's translation—for Penguin Books—that provided the material for Todd Boss's "poetic retelling".
First published in 1894, Knut Hamsun's Pan is former lieutenant Thomas Glahn's retrospective narrative of his life and adventures in the Norwegian woods. A man of fascinating complexity, Glahn is in some respects a modern successor to a long line of "superfluous" men in western literature, an heir to Goethe's Werther and the protagonists of Turgenev and Dostoyevsky.
But this portrait of a man rejecting the claims of bourgeois society for a Rousseauian embrace of Nature and Eros, explores the veiled mysteries of the unconscious by means of thoroughly modern techniques. Pan's quasi-musical modulations of pace and rhythm, its haunting use of leitmotifs which contract and distend time, its startling versions of myth and legend, and its ecstatic evocations of nature in its various phases and moods, all attest to the novel's Modernist innovations.
Pan provides a lyrical, yet disturbing analysis of love and the recesses of the psyche. This superb new translation restores the power and virtuosity of Hamsun's original and includes an informative introduction.
My setting of Panic is loosely cast in three large sections. In the first the samples are of natural sounds; birdsong, leaves, waves, rain, etc. In the second section, as the protagonist Lieutenant Glahn becomes more agitated and clumsy, and as his passion for Edvarda spirals out toward loss of control, we start to hear thick superimpositions of baroque ensemble, folk ensembles, and mutated instruments sometimes pitted against the piano's music. In the final section all of the sounds are made by the human voice, including some that imitate both the natural and instrumental sounds heard earlier.
The Complete Songs of Virgil Thomson
for voice and piano
by composer Andy Vores and poet Todd Boss
The Peculiar Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes
by composer Andy Vores and poet Todd Boss
World Premiere Recordings
A Landscape of Song
The American Vanguard Festival
The Complete Songs of Francis Poulenc
The Poet's Love
A World Premiere Ballet Set to Schumann’s Dichterliebe
Commissions & Premieres