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FULL THE GLASS BOX (Paola Prestini) New York 2022 Young Peoples Chorus of NYC

Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO          Qries

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Voices of Ascension  
  • Date Published: 2023  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO

The Glass Box is a concert work for double chorus that follows the illness of young refugees in Sweden who fall into a coma-like sleep when their families are slated for deportation, a syndrome known as uppgivenhetssyndrom, or “resignation syndrome.” Known only to occur in Sweden, the victims, called “de apatiska” (the apathetic) withdraw from the world, their minds and bodies giving up on life. The only cure is the reversal of the government’s immigration decision. The experience is viewed from the perspective of both children and parents whose request for asylum is twice denied. The children’s identity is entrenched in Swedish culture and thus they stop speaking, eating, moving, and finally they rest in bed like invalids, their bodies unresponsive to any external stimuli. Throughout the work, the sensory experience of the sleeping children is explored. A filmed wall of children in their beds in a deep sleep paint an almost hallucinogenic portrait of the illness’s haunting effects. The choirs are loosely assigned identities, the parents going to the SATB chorus, and the children to the treble chorus. Electronic moments enhanced by improvisation depict water rushing a glass box, and a moment where children write letters to their missing friends is enhanced by an electronic score enhancing the multitude of voices and experiences. Lyricism is injected with cluster chords, and mono-thematic moments that tell the story in cantata-like form then explode into fully contrapuntal and poly-thematic writing.

In the culmination of the work, the children slowly come out of their comas when news that the family has been granted permanent residence, leading to the final words in the work: “the sun shone through the slatted lines, kissed our face, and welcomed us home.”, which are painted in distorted courante-like lines that dissolve into cluster chords on “home”, depicting the uncertainty of our times.
– Paola Prestini, 2018

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