Pamela Madsen’s Oratorio for the Earth: There Will Come Soft Rains Awarded Grant for recording and Systemwide CSU Honors for significant Creative, Scholarly, Research Project. The project will be recorded by Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Vicki Ray, Ashley Bathgate, Lyris Quartet for a new CD to be released by NAXOS/Parma Records in 2019. TwoSense: Ashley Bathgate and Lisa Moore commissioned a new work from the project: The Consecrating Mother which will be premiered and recorded in February 2019. Check out the links for the recordings from the premieres this past year.
There Will Come Soft Rains was also selected to be presented as a significant creative, scholarly project to the Board of Trustees and the CSU System, and receiving academic honors for it’s significance as a interarts collaborative project. Here’s part of the presentation:
Can art save the planet? Can music connect us to the earth? How can we instigate environmental change though the arts? With this project we hope to inspire generations of artists to connect with the environment and create new collaborative art works about the need for water and the meaning of rain. This project strives to inspire action from both scientists and artist to create social change through their research and documentation of the environment. By creating these multi-media sonic landscape art works we seek to preserve and comment on the fragile nature of water in the Mojave Desert Preserve. Educationally interdisciplinary—we will in turn be implementing art to fund science, and hence science to help preserve nature, and give artists landscapes to paint, reflect upon and sing about.
There will come soft rainsis a 90-minute, multi-movement multi-media oratorio for the earth funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA and CSUF. CSUF faculty composer Pamela Madsen created this project for percussion, strings, voices, with projected images and sounds, in collaboration with world-renowned commissioning performers, video artists, and CSUF Music and Video Arts students.
“There will come soft rains” reflects upon the need for water and the meaning of rain in California, through engaging in active Deep Listening in the environment, and reflection upon issues of social justice, global ecology, and our connection to the earth.
Inspired by the post-apocalyptic short story by Ray Bradbury: There Will Come Soft Rains, the California Diaries of Anais Nin and Mary Hunter Austin’s chronicle of her adventures in early California Mojave Desert: The Land of Little Rain, this work uses image, music and text to tell a story of hope and promise, destruction and foreboding for the future.
By creating and participating in art works about the environment, CSUF students become aware of the issues of global warming and climate change and their creative potential to make a difference through arts advocacy.
Pamela Madsen is composer in residence in the Mojave Desert Preserve at CSU Desert Studies Center at ZZYZX working with the commissioning performers, ensembles and video artists and CSUF students to create, document and collect sounds and images for this work.
“As an Oratorio, this work is unique in that it focuses on the sound and setting of spoken text, combined with instruments, field recordings and videos of the environment, and sung text. The work captures the sonic landscape of the wilderness of the desert southwest, juxtaposed with the mid-century utopian fascination for the future, weaving a narrative of concern for human rights, social justice, women, nature and threat of imminent world destruction. Themes are manifested through texts concerning marginalization of indigenous cultures and desecration of women and nature correlated with concerns for the destruction of the environment. As a composer who works in Deep Listening, I try to capture the unique immersive sonic landscape experience of the desert environment: the sounds of water and fluidity of performance are juxtaposed against images of dry, rigid, inactive silence coupled with the starkness and scarcity of sound in the desert landscape.” Pamela Madsen
Supporting artists include:
Los Angeles Percussion Quartet
Cory Hills, percussionist /spoken voice, Los Angeles
Vanessa Tomlinson, percussionist/spoken voice, Australia
Vicki Ray, pianist, Los Angeles
Ashley Bathgate, cellist from Bang on a Can, NYC
Lyris String Quartet, Los Angeles
Quintan Ana Wikswo, Video Artist/poet, New Mexico
Supporting Cal State University Groups include:
Cal State Fullerton New Music Ensemble
Cal State Fullerton Symphony Orchestra and University Singers
Cal State Fullerton Music Composition and Video Arts Students
CSU Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, Mojave Desert Preserve
Professor Pamela Madsen, Composer, CSUF
Professor Julie Orser, Video Artist, CSUF
Professor Darren Sandquist, Director CSU Desert Studies Center