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Notes on Fiction: Heart of Darkness

  • Center for Fiction 17 East 47th Street New York, NY, 10017 United States (map)

More than a novel, Heart of Darkness is like an extended symbolic poem, affecting the reader with the breadth of its ideas as well as the beauty of its words. Drawing upon powerful 20th and 21st Century musical compositions, harpist Jennifer Ellis and mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen created a stark and multifaceted performance based on the themes in the historic novel.   Written by Joseph Conrad on the eve of the century that would see the end of the empire that the novel so significantly critiques, Heart of Darkness is both an adventure story set at the center of a continent represented through breathtaking poetry, as well as a study of the inevitable corruption that comes from the exercise of tyrannical power.   Through musical performance and readings from the novel, the Ihnen and Ellis explored tranquility, amazement, darkness, and the unknown. 

Music for flute, soprano, and harp. Works by Saariaho, and Schwanter.