Adventures in Ethics and Science

Thursday, October 8, at 8 pm, the Firebird Ensemble will be performing The Origin Cycle, eight selections from Charles Darwin’s work Origin of Species set to music. The performance will be at Stanford University’s Campbell Recital Hall, and tickets are free, but you’ll want to reserve your seats online ahead of the performance.

Here’s a bit of information on The Origin Cycle:

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species is not only one of the most important scientific works of all time, but one of the most beautifully written. In The Origin Cycle, eight contemporary composers set fragments of Darwin’s great book to music, for performance by solo soprano and chamber ensemble.

The passages chosen encompass the entire work, capturing the many facets of a Darwinian view of nature, and summarizing what Darwin called the “one long argument” contained in the Origin. They include his most famous and enduring images – the growing “tree of life” connecting all species, the vision of nature as an surface into which wedges are unceasingly struck, and the book’s final invocation of “grandeur in this view of life.”

The works were commissioned by Jane Sheldon and Peter Godfrey-Smith and funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

The fragments set to music include “The Face of Nature,” “Hourly Scrutinising,” “Tree of Life,” “Comparing the Eye to a Telescope,” “Economy of Wax,” “A History Imperfectly Kept,” “Entangled Bank,” and “Floreana”.

Besides this weeks performance at Stanford, there are also upcoming performances in Halifax, Novia Scotia, at the Australian National University, and at the Australian Museum in Sydney.