Choral Marx is a premiere, with no sneak peeks available – but you can get a sense of Philbrick’s other works, and the ways he plays with sound, text, and ensemble.
Ethan Philbrick composed Choral Marx with selections of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party (1848). He describes one of the aims of the work in an interview with the Brooklyn Rail:
I’m wanting to set the Manifesto in a way that it doesn’t assume it knows what political action should look like, but instead dwells within these political calls that are still resonating and ask a question about how to act.
Read more about the piece’s origins as a PhD study group, in Barbara Browning’s Indefinite Article; and read selections of the Samuel Moore translation that Philbrick is working from.
In addition to his work as a composer and writer, Philbrick holds a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU. Learn more about Philbrick’s performance work, writing, teaching, and training at his website, including a course description for “The Voice in Performance,” which also reflects his compositional work for Choral Marx:
The voice is a body extending into the world; it is the world manifesting through a body. The voice transmits linguistic messages as well as unruly sonic forces that exceed language. The politics of race, gender, and sexuality are sounded out through the voice. Groups are formed and deformed through rituals of collective voicing.
Get Into It
Bonus: check out Ethan Philbrick’s Office Hours interview with composer David Lang, who presented the whisper opera at NYU Skirball in January 2018.
Learn more about the New York City Labor Chorus, made up of union members from over 20 labor unions in NYC, who have been performing for 25+ years in concert halls, picket lines, and union rallies:
Our Chorus promotes union solidarity by expressing through song the history and ongoing struggles of workers for economic and social justice. Our dynamic repertoire combines the power and culture of union music with the great gospel, jazz, classical and folk traditions.
Hear their rendition of “Bread and Roses,” and more: