Joelle Wallach’s Cassandra’s Lament will be given its World Premiere performance by the Vassar College Women’s Chorus, Christine Howlett, Conductor, on Sunday, October 7 – 3:30 PM at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, 75 Hicks Street in Brooklyn, New York. This concert will be part of the National Conference of the Jane Austen Society of North America and will be held at the historic church where Abraham Lincoln prayed and where escaped slaves were sheltered on the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Wallach writes about the new work, “Cassandra’s Lament, commissioned by the Jane Austen Society of North America, is a collage of melodies and words, elements of Cassandra Austen’s psychic soundscape at the time of her sister Jane’s death. Fragments and shadows of memory and sudden pangs of loss streak across her inner landscape with poignant urgency. juxtaposed with ongoing echoes of the. In Cassandra’s Lament, brief excerpts from the traditional, serene Anglican Requiem chant are juxtaposed with phrases from Cassandra’s distraught and poignant letters, lines from Jane’s formal prayer, hanging at St. Nicholas’ Church, Steventon, and the simple, agonized words Jane uttered on her deathbed. The texts and the melodies associated with each of these recur, and reoccur, reflecting the ruminative process of grief. The reappearances of the serpentine lines seem at first to be identical, but each apparent repetition is subtly altered, changing as grief changes as it heals, imperceptibly and from the inside out.”

The Vassar College Women’s Chorus will also perform other works based on Jane Austen texts, including a commissioned work from Eleanor Daley. The Chorus has performed in New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia as well as abroad. Visit them at http://music.vassar.edu/programs/chorus.html.

Ticket information for the October 7 concert and more about the National Conference of JASNA can be found at http://www.jasna.org/agms/newyork/public_programs.html.

The 4Tay label has released two new CDs of Dr. Wallach’s music – The Door Standing Open – a collection of songs and chamber works (CD 4034) – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/joellewallach and The Nightwatch – more songs and solo piano works (CD 4035) – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/joellewallach2. More about her at http://www.joellewallach.com.

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