Sunday, February 07, 2010

ASO Season Announcement

As usual, the American Symphony Orchestra has a great season of works you'll never hear anywhere else. How I wish we had a similarly adventurous group in the Bay Area.

Private to LB: program Granville Bantock's Omar Khhayam one of these years and I'm good for a donation. Also, you're going to perform Reyer's Sigurd some day, I bet.

Cut & pasted from the season announcement; these concerts are all at Carnegie Hall.

James Joyce
Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 8 p.m.

Music played a significant if understated role in the consciousness of James Joyce. Joyce deeply admired some of the composers of his time such as George Antheil and Othmar Schoeck, and the subtle music in Joyce’s own work was not lost on these composers either. Based on perhaps the most iconic novel of the last century, the Ulysses cantata of Mátyás Seiber receives its U.S premiere.

George Antheil (1900-59): Ballet Mécanique (1953)

Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957): Lebendig Begraben, Op. 40 (1926) (U.S. premiere)

Mátyás Seiber (1905-60): Ulysses (1947) (U.S. premiere)

Music and the Bible
Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 8 p.m.

In the 19th century, Europe experienced a wave of religious resurgence. This program explores the re-emergence of the sacred oratorio and how the tradition of communal singing aided religion in binding a community plagued by economic turmoil and epidemic disease. This is a rare opportunity to experience major works by Fanny Mendelssohn (sister of Felix), and Louis Spohr, thought by his contemporaries to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mozart and Beethoven.

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-47): Musik für die Toten der Cholera-Epidemie (1831)

Louis Spohr (1784-1859) Die letzten Dinge (1826)

Albéric Magnard: Bérénice
Sunday, January 30, 2011, 2 p.m.

ASO continues its series of great 19th-century French operas with the last opera of Albéric Magnard, considered by many to be the best of the French Wagnerian operas. Bérénice tells the story of the tragic love affair between the Queen of Judea and Titus, heir to the Roman Empire. A study in contrasts between East and West, romantic and classic, passion and rationalism, woman and man, Bérénice is a dramatic tour de force that was far ahead of its time; indeed, its musical innovations have been said to anticipate Berg’s Wozzeck.

Albéric Magnard (1865-1914): Bérénice (1909)

Before and After the Spanish Civil War
Friday, February 25, 2011, 8 p.m.

The Spanish Civil War was the defining event for Spain during the last century, and for some it was “the last great cause”. From 1936 to 1939, nations watched with foreboding and sympathized with both sides in a bloody conflict that heralded World War II that was soon to follow. This program gives listeners the chance to explore through the music of Spanish composers writing before and after the war the impact of Spain's devastating transition from the freedoms of the Second Republic to the fascism of dictator Francisco Franco.

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Sinfonía sevillana, Op. 23. (1920)

ROBERTO GERHARD (1896-1970): Don Quixote (1940-41, 1947-49)

MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946): Homenajes (1941)

ROBERTO GERHARD: Pedrelliana (En memoria) (1941) and Symphony No. 4, “New York” (1967/68)

American Harmonies: The Music of Walter Piston
Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 8 p.m.

Walter Piston had a profound impact on 20th-century American music, with his seminal textbooks on harmony and orchestration still in use today. Although his influence can be heard in the works of the generation of composers he trained, Piston’s own music is too rarely found on the concert stage. The ASO offers a unique chance to hear the work of this largely self-taught “composer’s composer” in a program that features – among other works – two of his award-winning symphonies.

WALTER PISTON (1894-1976):

Toccata (1948)
Concertino for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1937); Blair McMillen, piano

Symphony No. 2 (1943)
Violin Concerto No. 1 (1939); Miranda Cuckson, violin
Symphony No. 4 (1950)

Passover in Exile
Thursday, April 21, 2011, 8 p.m.

The Haggadah is the sacred text recounting the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt and their wanderings in the desert. For centuries, the reading of the Haggadah at Passover has been a poignant reminder of the Jewish Diaspora—the dispersal of Jews around the world. The text was particularly meaningful for the German Jewish composer Paul Dessau. He wrote his grand choral work Haggadah shel Pesach in 1935, while in exile in Paris. Suppressed for decades, this amazing work will be given its U.S. premiere.

Paul Dessau (1894-1979): Haggadah shel Pesach (1934/61) (U.S. premiere)


Sator Arepo said...

I had the good fortune to see a reproduction of Ballet Mechanique in Boston some years ago (2001?) at symphony hall by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. It was fantastic. Antheil was a strange fellow, indeed.

Lisa Hirsch said...


Joe Barron said...

I would love to attend the Piston concert. The Second Symphony remains one of my favorite pieces. The Spanish program is interesting, too. My mother was pro-Franco (a lot of Catholics of that generation were), and she never forgave Hemingway for For Whom the Bell Tolls. Going to the the concert would therefore feel kind of naughty ...

Lisa Hirsch said...

You have a very well-developed sense of guilt or something if attending that program would feel naughty. :)

It IS a great program, though. I liked the one Gerhard piece I have heard quite a bit. Also would love to see the Magnard because I'll never have another chance.