This summer, Austin Classical Guitar has been presenting narratives, a three-part series of shows that explores both music and literature. The summer series began with persona [beginning], continued with process [middle] and concludes with nocturne [end].
According to Austin Classical Guitar's executive director Matthew Hinsley, the show will be bittersweet. "We're examining production, we're examining dream, sleep, and death. It's going to be a sweet program, but it's going to be looking at those... end stage themes."
Like the earlier shows in the narratives series, nocturne will include readings of prose and poetry. There will be excerpts from James Joyce's Finnigans Wake along with texts by the Elizabethan era lute composer John Dowland (of whom Joyce was a great fan). And as Hinsley says, "the centerpiece of the evening is a piece by Benjamin Britten called The Nocturnal, which is a series of themes and variations based on sleep states, with the theme derived from John Dowland's song 'Come Heavy Sleep.'"
In addition to those older works, nocturne will also include some new works written as part of Austin Classical Guitar's Lullaby Project, in which musicians partner with new mothers and pregnant women to help them navigate difficult times by composing lullabies.
For Hinsley, narratives is a chance for Austin Classical Guitar to branch out and create new and challenging shows. "We're taking this summer as an opportunity to kind of have a launchpad into more conceptually based programming," he says.