by Mike Telin
Friday the 13th — the mere mention of this day conjures up fear for those suffering from triskaidekaphobia. Or perhaps that fear stems from seeing one or more of the twelve slasher films. And, we must not forget that Italian composer Gioachino Rossini died on that most unlucky day.
On Friday, November 13 at 7:00 pm, St. Paul-based Zeitgeist will present Crocus Hill Ghost Story, the first of three broadcasts as part of the “Here and There 2020” collaboration with Cleveland-based No Exit. Listeners can access the free, pre-recorded performance at No Exit’s website or Facebook page on the night of the concert.
During a recent telephone conversation, No Exit artistic director Timothy Beyer confessed that the date is a coincidence. He also noted that this year is different from the previous “Here and There” collaborations. “Since we can’t get together to perform, Friday will be only Zeitgeist. Later this month, we (No Exit) will perform alone, and in January we’ll do an online concert together.”
Crocus Hill Ghost Story is a tale about a house possessed. Inspired by the author’s experiences of living in a St. Paul mansion during the 1980s, the piece follows the relationship between two longtime friends, and how that relationship evolves as they find themselves in the midst of a haunting. The work features an original story by Cheri Johnson, music by Julie Johnson, sound design by Eric M.C. Gonzalez, and video by FIX Agency. Performers include Heather Barringer and Patti Cudd (percussion), Pat O’Keefe (woodwinds), Jill Dawe (piano), and Krisanne Weiss (narration) of Zeitgeist.
In a press release, Barringer explained that the roots of Crocus Hill Ghost Story began when Julie Johnson was invited to “explore new musical ideas with us through the Zeitgeist/Composer Workshop in 2014. We were taken with her American roots-inspired compositions and were certain that together we could create something unique to share with audiences. And in turn, she invited her sister and frequent collaborator to join us as well, and we readily embraced the idea. Little did we know we had invited a ghost into our midst.”
Barringer went on to say that their haunt led them to explore the “sometimes dark and complicated side of a variety of relationships — between words, music, and images, lovers, friends, and adversaries (living and otherwise) while continually moving between that veil of what is and what might be.”
“Here and There 2020” will continue on November 27 at 7:00 pm with à la miniature. The online concert by No Exit will include works by Saariaho, Ligeti, Ornstein, Jolas, Xenakis, and Delaney.
The final installment of the series takes place on January 29, 2021 at 7:00 pm, when No Exit and Zeitgeist will present a virtual collaboration featuring the world premiere of a work written for both groups by Scott Miller.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 10, 2020
Click here for a printable copy of this article