"The Watchtower Psalms" World Premiere by The New Consort...Connecticut and New York

Rosśa's commission for The New Consort, an American Prize winning ensemble in Chamber Music, is being premiered April 5th through 7th, 2019 in both Connecticut and New York. "The Watchtower Psalms," a multi-movement work for five voices, was inspired by the Enochian experiments in angelic communication by John Dee and Edward Kelley in the 17th Century. Tickets can be bought HERE!

Rosśa explains the background behind their creation of this piece:

"Since I was 18, I have had a fascination with the 16th Century experiments of John Dee and Edward Kelley’s with angelic communication. Dee, a mathematician, occult philosopher, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, employed Kelley, a medium, to help him discover the secrets of nature and the supernatural through obsidian scrying. Their activities, inspired by the conjurations of King Solomon, lent a new perspective to what I had previously been educated about otherworldly communication. The events led to a remarkable amount of documentation, resulting in several tablets that named the angels that existed within each level of the hierarchy, as well as the documentation of Enochian, the language of the angels. While Dee and Kelley’s experiments may have very well been a figment of imagination, their extensive output has made many interfaith believers of Enochian Magick, be it Christian, Pagan, Jewish, or otherwise.

When Brian Mummert approached me to compose a piece for The New Consort, I knew that this was the topic on which to base the work. I immediately created text that followed style and structure of the Old Testament psalms, and in turn, created a different kind of liturgical piece, delving into secrets that ideologically are not considered any part of the religious canon. I wanted to create a sense of a different world beyond our own, one that might evoke fear, but also shows a sense of reverence, where we see a light of hope in a path not often turned down.

The Watchtower Psalms is the embodiment of the ceremony where the practitioner calls the four corners, otherwise known as the watchtowers. Each quadrant has an elemental angel assigned to it: EXARP (Air), HKOMA (Water), NANTA (Earth), and BITOM (Fire). Each of these angels has many classifications of other angels underneath them. Collectively, the four watchtowers form the Tablet of Union, a symbol of the Quintessence, the spiritual amalgamation of the quadrants becoming one. When the Watchtowers are all called, it is then that our divine natures can be found.

The Watchtowers each have an assigned direction, element, and color. As a synesthete, I composed each movement based on the colors and emotional reactions I had from each element. Their symbolism goes as follows:

EXARP - East/Air/Yellow HKOMA - West/Water/Blue NANTA - North/Earth/Black BITOM - South/Fire/Red

Many thanks to Brian Mummert and The New Consort for their commissioning of this work. I have had a blessed journey creating this piece for them."

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Libretto by Aiden K. Feltkamp 
Music by Rosśa Crean 
Inspired by the writings of Marie-Madeleine (Gertrud Günter) and Ronald K. Siegel, PhD All new translations from the original German by the librettist 

Commissioned by the International Museum of Surgical Science for their exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” 

 

I. The Awakening 

Forensic science is the art of resurrection, 
recreating history through the magic of DNA and fingerprints and handwritten secrets decoded from the particular curves in “dear” and “do not leave me.” 

See here, the ink-fossil of Baroness Gertude Günter von Puttkamer-- the Jewish lesbian erotic poet, Marie-Madeleine, 
who taunted the Nazis with her bright red hardcovers 
and incendiary turns of phrase. 

That’s me. 

The Nazis tried to burn me, 
to bury my words, all memory of my existence, in war-ridden soil. 
They tried, 
but they failed. 

 

II. In Salvation and In Sin 

(Adaptation and translation of “Ich träumte von dir” from Auf Kypros) 

I dreamt of you. -- One summer night, pale blue and trembling at the riverside in all your golden-curled splendor, 
you wanted my burning mouth. 

I've known no fever, no hellfire burning so hot as the sickness in my heart. 
Your wicked eyes shone, 
two abysses like cliffs at the waters’ edge - - my soul sank into them. 

The madness-making moonlight with its sickly pallor 
splayed death over your face 
as I pressed you to me. 

With my yielding, lecherous mouth 
I drank dry your heart's blood 
in the summer night, in the midnight hour when the seacrests sing and surge. 

-- I dreamt only this. 

 

III. Morphine 

The Papaver somniferum,the opium poppy, evolved to defend itself. 
Producing a thick, white milk, 
it deters predators, 

and those foolish enough to bite 
kneel to its bitter, sleep-inducing chemicals. Humans harvested the power of the poppy and named it after the Greek god of dreams. 

I first tangled with that seductive god 
when the male doctors decided 
I was too distraught at my husband’s deathbed. I was too hysterical. 
They shot me up 
without my consent. 

The cool calm crawled under my skin. 

 

IV. Tumbling 

(inspired by “Das Fieber,” “Kokaïn,” and “Der letzte Rausch”)

In darkness, in this terrible place 

completely removed from the world, 
he approached without a sound, without warning... this monster, my uninvited guest... 

My tired heart drags hotter 
until the dream-clouds about me are violent red. Shine, ever effervescent, 
fill me with a marrow-deep delight! 

More! More! 
Burn me inside 
until wings sprout on my savage soul and I fall 
headlong 
into the beckoning bottomless pit. 

I am always -- still! -- so long! -- stuck in this cursed place, 
this city so heavily damned 
that it will never rise again. 

I can only groan with desire -- take me down, Thanatos! 

I can’t breathe in these streets, I can’t find a living body, they’ve all forgotten---- 

My lips, worn down by fever, cradle my last screech: 
I need to get out! 
I’m penned in all around-- these walls will outlast me. 

I have nothing left but you: 
my most beloved, my very last ecstasy! 

 

V. The Harvest Song 

Poppies are monocarpic-- 
they die after flowering. 
Their showy petals are crumpled in the bud; as blooming finishes, the petals lie flat before falling away. 

But I am polycarpic, 
flowering again and again, 
blooming ever brighter 
until I’m corporal again, 
sinew and fingertips and bone again. 

The Nazis are real and they are here. They will try to drive us 
once more into the dirt. 
But my soul persists, 

triumphant, 
after all my tormentors are dead. 

 

VI. The Flower of Oblivion 

(Adaptation and translation of “Die Blume des Vergessens”) 

The sky was a poppy-- 
bleeding, torn to shreds, and falling-- and as the sunset fled like a soft dream, the night tumbled onto the world. 

Braided up into the night’s wings, 
I sobbed out my heartache. 
Only the wild beasts who die in howling torment sink beside me to this loneliness so primeval. 

You sunset, you fire, watch 
the bleeding poppy embroiled in that seething mass of clouds-- I need oblivion’s shimmering bloom-- 
I rip it down from Heaven! 

I’ll wind purple wreaths 
around my heart to stop its weeping. 
I’ll find the deepest dark 
within that dream where we’re united forever.