TUNE Stephen Mead - Joan Again (Song for Joan of Arc)
A note from Stephen Mead: It is odd to find myself creating this page for music since I mainly think of myself as a mixed-media artist who is also a published writer. Not having a musical background for composing, please consider this page to be about a project-in-progress. The songs for the project elaborated on below, "Whispers of Arias" come from a poetry manuscript "Arias, Monologues & Mad Scenes", and it has been my hope over the years that others might take an interest in performing them. As the saying goes: hope springs eternal. Again, musically, I'm not really a composer/arranger but more of a "lyricist" who, as hip hop artists do, sampled music in attempts to create songs for my voice. (In other words: forewarned is forearmed, or something along those lines.) When it comes to others adapting these works I think of them as templates/palettes to be made use of. My sense is that choral groups/solo artists, (actors & actresses even), and those who work with them in an arranging/conducting capacity, have the best feel for what songs/words, lyrically, establish the groundwork of creative affinity. I like the idea of letting the artists who are doing the interpreting to have as much freedom as needed to play and use the material to pitches of emotional resonance which can do the greatest good.
"Joan Again" is from "Whispers of Arias, Volume One", the song and the album itself best described as follows: Sound collages, songs as stories, songs as films…from the opening doorbell on the first track of Stephen Mead’s “Whispers of Arias” , Volume One, the listener is invited to enter no ordinary musical experience. Instead, drawing on classical, folk, and alternative traditions, these songs owe more to the works of John Adams, Phillip Glass, & their librettists, for defying contemporary verse/chorus composition. Even the rhyme schemes are not typical moon/June/spoon, but more that of soliloquies set to music. Including voices from myths (Ariel, Isis), and voices of history (Nefertiti, Helen), through characters set in 21st Century scenarios, (a welfare mother on-the run), the song cycle of this CD weaves a thematically comprehensive whole, while the musical backdrops provided by Kevin MacLeod makes each piece a journey unto itself. To be human is to know how valuable life is, these songs seem to say, and will hopefully leave the listener emotionally transported by that message.