Earth Day Celebration – Not Less Than the Good

Earth Day Celebration - Not Less Than the Good

Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 6:00pm-7:00pm

The Barrow Mansion - 83 Wayne Street, Jersey City, NJ

FREE, all ages welcome

CVM joins Drawing Rooms to celebrate Earth Day weekend! We’ve invited New Thread Quartet to return to Barrow Mansion with a workshop performance of Not Less Than the Good, a 60-minute musical sunrise and celebration of morning as embraced by Henry David Thoreau in Walden. You can also catch the official premiere on June 2 at The Morgan Library.

Not Less Than the Good, composed by David Morneau for New Thread Quartet
New Thread Quartet (saxophones), David Morneau (synthesizer), pre-recorded narration by poet J.D. McClatchy, and field recordings from Walden Pond.

Learn more.

About Not Less Than the Good:
Not Less Than the Good is a musical sunrise, a celebration of morning as embraced by Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Thoreau wrote about morning as a metaphor for intellectual and spiritual awakening: “The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour.”

Commissioned by New Thread Quartet and composed by David Morneau, Not Less Than the Good simulates a sunrise by combining the meditative playing of the saxophone quartet with ambient synthesizers. The music grows from a single quiet note, adding notes and timbres, growing in fullness and depth. Underneath this are sounds recorded during the pre-dawn and early morning hours at Walden Pond: a chorus of insects, the lone song of dawn’s first bird which is joined by others in a raucous counterpoint, and the splashing of morning swimmers. The hour-long performance is punctuated by readings of excerpts from Walden, selected as a secular prayer of hope for enlightenment and performed by poet J. D. McClatchy.

Not Less Than the Good is composed for the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth (July 12, 2017). In Walden, Thoreau encouraged us to reject the life we’re expected to live, through a pursuit of self enlightenment, through the effort to wake up. His words remain vital today. “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.”

We live in a moment where our culture grows dark. Knowledge is trivialized. Greed is a virtue. Violence is too-often the first answer. And happiness is promised with just one more purchase. Hope comes with the dawn. “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”

Learn more at
See the premiere performance at The Morgan Library, June 2.

About the Performers:

David Morneau is a composer of an entirely undecided genre. Described by Molly Sheridan as a “shining beacon” of inspiration, his diverse work illuminates ideas about our culture, issues concerning creativity, and even the very nature of music itself. His eclectic output has been described variously as “elegantly rendered”, “happily prissy”, “impressive”, “unusual, esoteric, and offbeat”. His chiptune album, Broken Memory, “absolutely wrecks shop.… For that, David Morneau wins.” He collaborates with composer Melissa Grey as l’Artiste ordinaire (l’Ao) and is composer-in-residence with Immigrant Breast Nest, an NYC net label.

J. D. McClatchy is an American poet and literary critic, educated at Georgetown University and Yale University, from which he received his PhD in 1974.

He is the author of eight books of poetry, including Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), Mercury Dressing (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), Division of Spoils (Arc Publications, 2003), and Hazmat (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), which was nominated for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. A prominent figure in the world of opera, McClatchy has written sixteen opera libretti and his work has been performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, the San Francisco Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Lincoln Center Festival, and in other opera houses around the world.

His honors include the 2000 Governor’s Arts Medal from the state of Connecticut and the Arts and Letters Award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1998, McClatchy was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He served as the Academy’s president from 2009 to 2011. McClatchy is currently a professor of English at Yale University, where he also serves as editor of The Yale Review.

New Thread Quartet was formed with the mission to develop and perform impactful new music for the saxophone, and to provide high level ensemble playing to feature today’s compositional voices. In 5 seasons, the quartet has commissioned and premiered over 20 new works by composers such as Richard Carrick, Ben Hjertmann, Scott Wollschleger, and Kathryn Salfelder, with recent commissions from Max Grafe and Taylor Brook as part of its annual Explorations concert series. Based in New York City, NTQ has performed at Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival Benefit, Monadnock Music, and the World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland, and has performed or recorded more than 30 important works for saxophone quartet including Kati Agócs’ Hymn on New England Conservatory’s Composer Series at Jordan Hall, a revival of Michael Djupstrom’s 2001 work Test at Arizona State University’s Katzin Concert Hall, and the premiere recording of Elliott Sharp’s seminal work Approaching the Arches of Corti for 4 soprano saxophones, now available on New World Records.

NTQ has a track record of working closely with composers in a workshop environment during the formation of new works and encourages composer attendance at rehearsals. The quartet strives for multiple performances of newly commissioned works in attempt to bring new music to different audiences as often as possible.

NTQ has conducted masterclasses, residencies, and performances for student saxophonists and composers at Peabody Conservatory, Bronx Community College, Aaron Copland School (Queens College), Montclair State University, NYU and NASA Regional and Biennial conferences across the US. NTQ encourages young composers to create new works for saxophones through an open submission policy, conducting reading and feedback sessions throughout the year.

Ensemble members are Geoffrey Landman (soprano saxophone), Kristen McKeon (alto saxophone), Erin Rogers (tenor saxophone) and Zach Herchen (baritone saxophone). NTQ is a presenting partner of Composers Now.

CVM works to ensure that our concerts are accessible to all. The venues we use are wheelchair accessible with restroom accessibility. If you require a special accommodation, are a wheelchair user attending our venue for the first time, or have specific questions contact us at least two weeks prior to your visit.

Image Credits:
J.D. McClatchy – Photography by Marion Ettlinger
David Morneau – Photography by Marc Fiaux
New Thread Quartet – Photography by Max Breslow

Sponsored by The Barrow Mansion Development Corporation.

Con Vivo Music’s 2017 Season is sponsored by SILVERMAN.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of The National Endowment for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. Degise, County Executive, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.