Darwin’s Sacred Song

Christopher Douglas at the Marginalia Review of Books:

Darwin is recognized as a great scientist, but he was also a profound, and sometimes poetic, writer. His style of striking images, suggestive metaphors, and apt concision becomes apparent in Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin, which sets Darwin’s words to sacred music. Brown’s “Missa” (Latin for mass) adapts the genre of sacred music and liturgy to give expression to some of Darwin’s most important ideas – which are also the most theologically disturbing ones. The result is a strangely beautiful piece of music, made even more intriguing by Brown’s compositional practice of using a transcribed sequence of DNA from Darwin’s famous finches to set the musical score for the opening movement. The mass is being performed in Victoria and Vancouver on January 15th and 16th by the New York Polyphony, a vocal quartet, and may have other dates in 2019.

more here.