Friday, May 11, 2012

Zachary Gordin to premiere Clint Borzoni work at Sacramento Gay Pride

Zachary Gordin as he appears in the 2012 Barihunks calendar

On June 1 at 7 PM PST, the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center is presenting "Courage to Stand," which showcases the stories of LGBT service members who served before, during, and after the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"  era. The event is the official kickoff of the 2012 Sacramento Gay Pride Weekend and it will include barihunk Zachary Gordin premiering New York composer Clint Borzoni's "A Nation Announcing Itself" taken from Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."

We asked Borzoni about his selection of "A Nation Announcing Itself."
I scoured my go-to source material, Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" for a poem that might set well for the commission. I came upon the first poem in the "Chants Democratic" section which I thought perfectly captured the emotions of the LGBT troops. Lines like, "What we are, we are...", "I swear I dare not shirk any part of myself, not any part of America, good or bad", and "O I see now flashing, that this America is only you and me, its power, weapons, testimony, are you and me...". The song isn't only about an individual group standing up for their rights, but about a section of that group fighting for the rights of every person, even those that condemn them. The song is titled, "A Nation Announcing Itself".
We asked Zachary Gordin about the piece and here's what he had to say:
Clint treats the subject matter directly, and takes great care in setting the text. There are bugle-like intervals in the vocal line at the beginning of the song, setting a military theme which develops into a melody that flows from powerful exclamation, to floating pianissimi, and back. The accompaniment is virtuosic and exciting, reinforcing the emotional "buzz" of the text, and there's a big finish! I am amazed by how well Clint wrote for my specific voice, exploiting a full tonal palette in a way that seems like we collaborated endlessly on each phrase. All this, after one conversation about basic technical aspects of the vocal line. I'm thrilled to premiere this song with pianist Jim Jordan, who is an incredibly gifted artist and an absolute joy to make music with!
Tickets to this event are $75 per person and includes an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a selection fo wine from Bogle Vineyards. The event is at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento. Tickets are available HERE.

Regular readers of this site will recall that Borzoni also set another Whitman poem, "I Dream'd in a Dream" for barihunk Randal Turner's West Coast recital debut in 2010. That recording is available at CDBaby. or at Amazon (click on the box in the sidebar to order).

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