O Who is Glory in the Shapeless Maps

On Saturday, November 22, Ars Musica audiences will hear the world premiere of “O who is glory in the shapeless maps” by our 2014–2015 Composer-in-Residence Joshua Groffman. Enjoy a preview of what the composer has to say about this groundbreaking new work:

O who is glory in the shapeless maps is the first piece in a season-long collaboration between myself and Ars Musica Chorale based on Dylan Thomas’s poem “Foster the Light.” The poem is an ode and an exhortation, addressed both to the Creator—the deity variously defined and understood—and the creator, the artist. Thomas sees the relationship between the two as circular: if the Creator has made us, it is also true that in some sense we have made our Creator, through our religious texts and artworks.

In the present piece, the listener will hear medieval plainchant and Renaissance polyphony, Romantic harmonies and modernist noise textures. The texts, too, are varied: excerpts from Psalm 119 in Latin, Hebrew, and English show a direct and interactive relationship with God; “Nondum” by Gerard Manley Hopkins poem describes a one-way relationship full of doubt; another line from “Foster the Light” exhorts us to find meaningful interactions (“pluck a mandrake music”) within the “singing choir” of human community and the experience of the “marrowroot” of daily life.

The piece therefore dramatizes divergent, even contradictory, worldviews. Like Whitman, the piece hopes to contain multitudes, and as in his work, the contradictions are cause for celebration. Perhaps the central insight with which art can supply us is that when we ask, Who is glory?, the way we answer is less important than the fact that we can ask at all.

Don’t miss this never-before-heard work—buy your tickets today!

Brown Paper Tickets Ticket Widget Loading…

Click Here to visit the Brown Paper Tickets event page.



(551) 226-9305

Mailing Address
Ars Musica
PO Box 525
Paramus, New Jersey 07653



Discover Jersey Arts

Ars Musica’s concert season is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.



Receive updates, special promotions, and e-Newsletters by signing up
* = required field