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Angel of Many Signs
November 18 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
The New York Choral Society presents Angel of Many Signs, an immersive production of choral music featuring the New York premiere of Angel of Light a new Shaker-inspired cantata by Kevin Siegfried and contemporary arrangements of the music of Hildegard of Bingen.
Chantal Freeman, Bergamot Quartet, Saya Woolfalk and Raquel Acevedo Klein join The New York Choral Society.
Raquel Acevedo Klein and Bergamot Quartet create an improvised electronic sound environment that responds to and enhances the unique timbre of each Hildegard of Bingen composition sung by our chorus and Chantal Freeman. Electronic looping will expand the experience of our sound environment as Saya Woolfalk’s unfolding narrative of images and video create an immersive visual environment that mirrors the ethereal spaciousness of the music.
Angel of Many Signs, with voices, string quartet, electronica, and projections, bridges the music of a 12th century abbess and Shaker women of the mid-19th to explore the roles of women as polymaths, visionaries, and prophets in music and art.
Photo: Shaker Museum Collection
Our production takes its inspiration from a Shaker gift drawing A Sacred Sheet Sent from Holy Mother Wisdom by Her Angel of Many Signs. According to Shaker tradition, heavenly spirits came to earth, bringing visions, often giving them to young Shaker women, who danced, whirled, spoke in tongues, and interpreted these visions through their drawings and dancing.
From as a far back as Pythia at Delphi, who served as the mouthpiece of the god Apollo, women have often served, although not always celebrated, as messengers of the divine. Despite being separated by many centuries, Hildegard of Bingen and the Shaker women of Watervliet were fascinating polymaths who brought a uniquely feminine perspective to their ecstatic visions of the divine that that ranged from music and movement to devotional manuscripts and drawings.