Block Museum Stages a Blake Inspired “Mad Song” [Video]

On Tuesday, February 20th Twelve student vocalists from the Bienen School of Music performed Mad Song, a work by Chicago composer, flutist and vocalist Janice Misurell-Mitchell that translates the text and imagery of a William Blake’s poem by the same name into a sonic experience. The performance was preceded by a discussion by Misurell-Mitchell and the performance conductor, A.J. Keller, DMA candidate in Choral Conducting, about the experimental work and its process.

“Mad Song, written by Janice Misurell-Mitchell using text from the poem by William Blake, has an a cappella chorus…mimicking an onrush on sounds: moans, murmurs, clucks, breathless sighs.  These could be the hushed, tormented voices–effectively conveyed through Sprechstimme (sung speech)–a woman gone mad might hear in her head. Indeed, as the program notes make clear, the sleepless narrator gradually succumbs to emotional turbulence, becomes at one with the voices.”  —Ted Shen, Chicago Reader

Presented in partnership with the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities


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