A Native Hill
The long-anticipated follow-up to Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century, which won The Crossing its first GRAMMY award in 2018, the 12-movement A Native Hill was premiered by the ensemble in October 2019 at their home, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. Wendell Berry’s text, from his 1968 essay of the same title, offers meditations on how life is, and can be, experienced, through detailed descriptions of the minutiae of rural existence, where simple natural events reveal themselves as metaphors for universal truths. Bryars has a close working and personal relationship with The Crossing, and draws on his intimate knowledge of the singers’ individual characteristics to create a further thoughtful and even more profoundly meaningful work for the ensemble. The New York Times has called Bryars’ music “accessible and defiantly personal,” and A Native Hill exemplifies his organic synthesis of sophisticated musical ideas with an earthy, insightful understanding of daily life.