UofA Ensemble Finds Many Loves in 'Labyrinth'

Nov 29, 2017

The Arkansas New Music Ensemble will perform Composer Michael Daugherty’s song cycle "Labyrinth of Love" (2012) with soprano Moon-Sook Park on Dec 1. The ensemble is a University of Arkansas project led by director Jamal Duncan. 

This unique arrangement explores the complexities of love and draws inspiration from the poetry and prose of eight international female artists: Sappho, Lady Mary Wroth, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Taylor and Anne Carson.  

Each song takes on the character of the corresponding text and transports listeners to diverse soundscapes from simmering flamenco castanets to a Baroque lament set to the words of screen siren Elizabeth Taylor. 

On his website Daugherty describes this piece as being "full of bitterness, desire, longing, ecstasy, irony, tenderness, despair, hope, sadness and humor.”  Daugherty is a Grammy award-winning composer who The Times of London called a “master icon maker.” His works often pull from popular culture, touching on everything from American icons like Elvis and Superman to the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy and artists like Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo.   "Michael Daugherty is a very populist composer," Duncan says. "He has a song cycle sung from the perspective of a Barbie doll...so, he really is great at synthesizing a bunch of styles."   For tickets and more information visit the Faulkner Performing Arts Center website.     

‘Labyrinth of Love’ takes the writings of eight historical women on the nature of love and sets it to music.
Credit michaeldaugherty.net