Queen of Heaven, April 16 (premiere)

Queen of Heaven (piano and electronics)
@ KcEMA: Unity
Saturday, April 16, 7:30pm
Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, MO
Kari Johnson, piano; Richard Johnson, electronics

$10, students $5

More information:

Unity Temple on the Plaza
707 West 47th Street
Kansas City, Missouri

Program note:
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been an object of devotion and a source of comfort and inspiration to Christians from the earliest years of their history. Throughout this time, many artists and musicians have dedicated their efforts to her reverence, adding their voices to the generations who have ever called her “blessed.”

Each of the five movements of Queen of Heaven is in a sense conceived as an icon: each concerns itself with a single idea, turning it over and over, meditating on it from different angles. The first movement, “Hail, Holy Queen,” imagines the greeting of the Virgin by the hosts of angels, in enormous, sonorous and terrifying voices like immense chimes. The second and fourth movements each take their inspiration from titles for Mary: “Full-of-Grace” from kecharitomene, the Greek word of greeting spoken by the Archangel Gabriel in Luke 1:28; and “The-One-Who-Gives-Birth-To-God” from Theotokos, an ancient Mariological title used in liturgical contexts. These two are divided by “The Unburnt Bush,” based on an icon of the same title that connects the Virgin and the burning bush of Exodus, as expressed in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: “Let us honor the Pure Theotokos! She accepted the Fire of Divinity in her womb but was not consumed!” The fifth and final movement returns to the heavenly setting of the first, now drawing its imagery from Revelation 12: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

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Composer of music and sonic art. Percussionist, guitarist, computer musician. Composition/theory/electronic music professor. Husband and father. Catholic. Food and beer enthusiast. Perpetually dissatisfied with the contents of my sock drawer.

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