Crescendo’s ‘Paintings in Song’: Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’ set to music

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By Wednesday, Mar 15 Arts & Entertainment
Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want.

Stockbridge — During his State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the famous “Four Freedoms” speech in which he asserted that all of earth’s human inhabitants ought to enjoy four essential freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Three years later, the Saturday Evening Post published the first of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms paintings. And this month, more than three quarters of a century later, The Norman Rockwell Museum will host a panel discussion with composer John Meyers, Crescendo Artistic Director Christine Gevert, and documentary filmmaker Rich Bradway about a newly commissioned body of music inspired by Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings. The multimedia choral work, composed by John Myers, is titled “Paintings in Song: Visions of Norman Rockwell” and features singers and instrumentalists from Crescendo Chorus and Youth Singers. Alice Myers and Anna Sabatini provide projected animations.

The commissioning and presenting entity is Crescendo, a Lakeville, Connecticut-based performance organization whose concerts primarily feature its own professional and semi-professional ensembles: the Crescendo Chorus, the Crescendo Vocal Ensemble, the Crescendo Period Instrument Orchestra, and the Crescendo Ensemble of Andean Instruments. Winner of the 2014 Chorus America ASCAP/Alice Parker Award, Crescendo has presented 10 U.S. premieres since its founding in 2003 by Artistic Director Christine Gevert. The organization performs in the tri-state area of northwest Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New York’s mid-Hudson Valley.

Crescendo Chorus under the direction of Christine Gevert.

Crescendo Chorus under the direction of Christine Gevert.

The panel discussion: Admission to the panel discussion on March 18 at 5:30 p.m. is free for Normal Rockwell Museum members, or included with Museum admission. $10 for the panel discussion only.

The concert: Singers and instrumentalists from Crescendo Chorus and Youth Singers will perform the premier of “Paintings in Song: Visions of Norman Rockwell” at St. James Church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 1, and at the Kent School in Kent, Connecticut on Sunday, April 2. For tickets and information, go to the Berkshire Edge Calendar.

Below is a video of Crescendo rehearsing ‘Paintings in Song,’ with an interview of Christine Gevert and composer John Meyers, produced in June of last year:

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