ABOUT A PASSION FOR THE PLANET
Geoffrey Hudson’s A Passion for the Planet is an hour-long oratorio on the subject of climate change. Blending scientific prose, poetry, and sacred texts from many faiths, the libretto traces an arc from beauty and gratitude into darkness and out again into hope.
A Passion for the Planet is scored for chorus of mixed voices, children’s chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, and instrumental ensemble. There are eleven movements; in the finale, performers and audience members join together to sing a simple chorale tune.
Concora Arts, Christopher Shephard, Artistic Director, performed A Passion for the Planet on Earth Day, April 22, 2023, in Hartford, Connecticut. Hear how Chris Shephard found the A Passion for the Planet.
IN THE PRESS
Lisa M. Ruch, Professor of English and Communications and Assistant Dean of Liberal Studies at Bay Path University, provides an elegant assessment of A Passion for the Planet in the journal Oh! The Humanities:
“A Passion for the Planet: Raising Environmental Consciousness Through the Melding of Music and Science.”
A Passion for the Planet is featured in the climate literacy resource site of the Smith College Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability: Climate in Arts and History: Promoting Climate Literacy Across Disciplines.
ALL EYES ON GLASGOW
NOVEMBER, 2021: A special on-line performance of Geoffrey Hudson’s A Passion for the Planet was released in honor of COP26. The final movement featured a virtual choir of climate activists.
You can see the VIDEO here.
A world of thanks to the wonderful singers who added their voices to demand (in song) bold action on the climate crisis!
EARTH DAY 2021
APRIL 2021: The concert film, newly annotated by Hudson and Michael E. Mann, was featured at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for Earth Day 2021. The event began with a pre-concert talk with composer Geoffrey Hudson, National Endowment for the Arts Chief of Staff, Ra Joy, and climate scientist Michael E. Mann. Watch it here.
Studio Recording of A Passion for the Planet
Concert Trailer for A Passion for the Planet
More about A Passion for the Planet, featuring interviews with Geoffrey Hudson, the composer, and singers.
Why an oratorio about the climate crisis?
(a few words from the composer…)
Faced with a planetary crisis, we’re failing to respond. If science can’t get the message across, perhaps music can.
In 2017, I read an article that said that even if we understand climate change on an intellectual level, we’re not going to truly engage with it until we feel it on an emotional level. And that made a lightbulb go on for me: music excels at building emotional connections.
Perhaps music can help dissolve the paralysis many people feel when they confront this topic.
And so, I set out to write an oratorio about climate change. A Passion for the Planet begins by celebrating the natural wonders of our planet. In the middle movements, we journey into the dark realities of climate change, including a musical depiction of the infamous “hockey stick” graphs. The eighth movement (“The Question”) is a turning point. From there, the music gradually turns towards hope, inspired by the words of David Orr, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” In the end, we all join together to sing a simple chorale tune.
Singing and listening to music won’t make the climate crisis go away. But perhaps, by forming an emotional connection with the topic, it can help us confront the stark realities. And when we see those realities—and truly take them in—maybe then, together, nourished by hope, we can work together to find a way forward.” – Geoffrey Hudson
Praise for A Passion for the Planet
“an extraordinary happening – I’ve not seen the likes of this event in all my years doing music.”
“Incredible. May it spread and spark many others.”
“What an amazing evening! Deeply moving — in so many ways… not least because it helped make the emotional and intellectual connection, time after time.”
“…last night’s performance was one of the most moving concert experiences of my life. When it came time for the audience to join in, I found it hard to sing, I was so overwhelmed—and looking around I realized that many audience members were in the same boat.”
“I do not think I have ever been more deeply moved by anything than I was at the premiere.”
“What a powerful and beautiful evening of music! It was magic, beauty, urgency and hope. It was music, protest, compassion and love.”
“I was amazed by the fierce and gentle passion delivered by this piece… it’s so rare that I hear a piece that speaks to me so deeply emotionally and intellectually… The piece needs to get out and be experienced (“heard” is not enough).”
“So moving and alive. I wept. Sorrowed. Delighted. Gave thanks. Wonderful in every way.”
“Such depth and richness—everyone I’ve spoken with was blown away.”