Hollis Thoms: Composer, Collector, Researcher, Advocate
Premiere of Adam and Eve opera
On November 3, 2019, 4pm at Christ Lutheran Church Inner Harbor, the Bach Concert Series under the direction of T. Herbert Dimmock premiered a new work of mine, Adam and Eve, based on John Milton's Paradise Lost, for four singers, woodwind quintet, double bass and harp. Jason Thoms, sings the part of Adam, Sarah Bleasdale, the part of Eve, and Kristopher Jean and Maria Sheehan the part of the Serpent. Bach Cantata 165 was also presented, which focuses on the Adam and Eve story and baptism.
The Sunderman Woodwind Quintet (Teresa Bowers, flute; Ed Stanley, oboe; Aaron Scott, clarinet; Ken Bell, French horn; Ben Greanya, bassoon) was joined by Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, and Laura Ruas, double bass in this premiere.
The first part is quite tonal and is based on a fragment from Haydn's Creation. Adam and Eve discuss their gardening. The second part begins with another Haydn fragment but becomes more dissonant as the Serpent/Satan tempts Eve. There are some 12-tone fragments that begin to appear (representing evil). Eve takes the apple at the end of the second part and in the third part Adam is convinced to take the apple. 12-tone music, representing evil, takes over. Finally Adam takes the apple. The piece returns to tonality as Adam and Eve realize that in order to continue they need God's forgiving grace. The opera ends with a four part chorale in a setting of Milton's "A Solemn Musik".
Here is a copy of the program, if you would like to follow the libretto as you listen: