Gregory W. Brown: MISSA CHARLES DARWIN (As Featured in the Novel ORIGIN by Dan Brown)
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This is what evolution sounds like: the genetic sequence of Platyspiza crassirostis (one of Darwin's Finches) translated into notes, subjected to genetic and musical processes, and set to texts by Charles Darwin all placed within the format of the traditional mass. The result is rising American composer Gregory W. Brown's Missa Charles Darwin, a secular Mass using texts from Darwin's On the Origin of Species and other writings. The piece, a collaboration between Brown and New York Polyphony bass Craig Phillips, who compiled and edited the texts, venerates Darwin as a seeker a man who went against the grain in search of explanations and connections in the natural world. Casting the project in the form of a Mass creates clever parallels between the original liturgical form and Darwin's writings, pitting (for instance) the Mass's appeals for mercy against the mercilessness of natural selection. The piece's many interrelated passages and evocations of symmetry present in both the traditional mass and this new work underscore the beauty and eloquence of Darwin's writings.
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