A dramatic setting for vocal ensemble of a text by Tom Lowenstein evoking an ancient ritual in North Alaska
In the North Alaskan wilderness for over fifteen hundred years, the people of Tikigaq evolved an intricate system of rites to accompany their hunting. The poet Tom Lowenstein captured the astonishingly rich detail of ancient life in his book ‘Ancient Life, Sacred Whale’ (Bloomsbury, 1993). Sun, New Moon and Women Shouting is a setting for six solo voices of a poetic sequence from that book concerning the cataclysmic moment after the winter solstice when the people greet the first sunrise of the year. In this ritual the men are joined by the women on the roofs of their iglus and compete to ‘catch’ the sun. The music reflects the narrative structure of the verse, the arrival of the women with their children, and the recounting of myths by the storytellers.
Commissioned by Bromsgrove Concerts for I Fagiolini with funds from West Midlands Arts. First performance on 24 January 1996. I Fagiolini directed by Robert Hollingworth.
Further performances have included Tromsø Cathedral (Norway), 8 December 2019 at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, 25 April 2020 at Kings Place in London.
Recorded by I Fagiolini for BBC Radio 3. Also performed by BBC Singers for BBC Radio 3 conducted by Robert Hollingworth on 15 Dec 2010 at St George’s, Campden Hill, London.