The Tree of Life
First Performance, Lycian Centre, Sugarloaf, New York, October 22, 2011 845 469 2287
Using a popular metaphor as its title, “The Tree of Life Music Event” is a staged musical performance featuring works by Richard Kimball, Samuel Barber, American jazz masters Bill Evans and Wayne Shorter, the voice of soprano Jody Weatherstone and distinguished conductor David Crone - each piece alluding to one of the great themes of life … birth, childhood, aging, loss, brotherhood, wonder, sexual love - inspired by the book “Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?” (highlighting a unique and historic island culture near Charleston, S.C.) and the parallel of artistic foment as existed in the Paris of the early 20th century.
Jody Weatherstone is featured on several of these, including one of the two pieces scored for chorus and Samuel Barber/James Agee’s emotive orchestral narrative telling of childhood in Knoxville, the summer of 1915, which Kimball orchestrated for Ms. Weatherstone and his consort of six players specifically for this performance.
The final highlight of the event is the premiere of Paris 1911, Kimball’s latest large work for chamber ensemble combining both jazz and classical idioms, taking the listener through a rich panoply of musical expression from French Impressionism, through the post romantic era, with jazz, Brazilian rhythmic forms, and a contemporary fugue – each one evolving out of the other.
Jazz vocalist Vivian Lord – the speaking side of her signature smoky singing voice, interjects her own salient comments from “above” – as overhead is projected a program of photographic images by John Jordan - theater lighting by the Lycian, with enhanced audio and live recording under the direction of renowned sound engineer and mixing artist, Frank Fagnano.