are a group of concerned individuals in the academic and performance
worlds who fear that our long and venerable Western cultural tradition
is going into a kind of eclipse.
It seems to us as if books
of substance are being read less and less in entirety nowadays. Equally
distressing, we have heard that in many of our public schools the classics
are being set aside for what is popular and easier to read, and that
even literature programs in our colleges are being diluted.
In music stores, we have noted
with dismay the growing number of customers in the pop music sections
and the dwindling few in the classical. And we have witnessed with sadness
our favorite music stations on the radio disappearing one by one until
now there are but a precious few left.
With The Lark Ascending we
want to sally forth with a challenge to this depressing trend and reach
out with an ungloved hand to those who yearn for excellence and a camaraderie
with kindred spirits. In a chamber setting, as budget allows, we will
take communal pleasure in what Matthew Arnold called "the best
that was thought and said in the past." We are interpreting "thought
and said in the past" in the broadest senseas being inclusive
of music and art as well as literature, and of such contemporary writers,
composers, and artists who derive from or claim a kinship to that past,
especially composers, who all too often cannot speak for themselves.
Perhaps all of us who care about these treasures of our literary and
artistic legacy have a disturbing internal sense that we also may finally
not be able to speak for ourselves. Alas, is it now possible that John
Milton, William Blake, and Dame Edith Sitwell may go the perilous way
of rain forests, whooping cranes, and baby seals? There is a tragic
pattern here, and the answer may be yes.
Let us hope not....
Bogen, artistic director
Richard Duncan , music director
Richard Brooks, Composer-in-Residence
LARK ASCENDING is a fully incorporated not-for-profit institution.