Sunday, September 11, 2011
The world premiere of Illuminessence: prayers for peace, an interfaith oratorio by Silvio Amato (left), highlights the concert conducted by Benjamin Zander. The NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra with chorus and vocal soloists perform the piece, commissioned by the Vatican and which touches on the commonality of human aspiration and the universal spiritual impulse as expressed in the prayers of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, along with other works.
To hear the concert, click on "Listen" above.
Benjamin Roe talks with composer Silvio Amato:
On the program:
Key: The Star-Spangled Banner
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Massenet: "Meditation" from Thaïs with violin soloist Yuki Beppu (NEC Preparatory School student)
Amato: Illuminessence: prayers for peace
chorus composed of singers from:
NEC Youth Chorale, Jonathan Richter, director
Young Men’s and Young Women’s Choruses from the
Handel & Haydn Society Vocal Apprenticeship Program,
Joseph Stillitano and Alyson Greer, directors
Kirsten Scott '08 Prep, soprano
Cristina Bakhoum '12 G.D., mezzo-soprano
Michael Kuhn, '12 M.M., tenor
Beethoven: "Ode to Joy" from Symphony No. 9
with chorus and soloists
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Mark Simpson - sparks
(BBC Commission, World Premiere)
Suk - Towards a New Life
Delius - Songs of Farewell
Verdi - Un ballo in maschera: ‘Forse la soglia attinse … Ma se m’è forza perderti’
Massenet - Werther: ‘Pourquoi me réveiller?’
Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
Puccini - Tosca: ‘E lucevan le stelle’
Puccini - Turandot: ‘Nessun dorma’
John Williams - Olympic Fanfare and Theme
Dvorák - Overture 'Carnival'
Shostakovich - The Gadfly: Romance
Brodszky - The Toast of New Orleans: ‘Be my love’
Lara - Granada
Rodgers - Carousel: ‘You’ll never walk alone’
Henry Wood - Fantasia on British Sea-Songs
Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major ('Land of Hope and Glory')
Parry, orch. Elgar - Jerusalem
Traditional - The National Anthem
Nicola Benedetti, violin
Joseph Calleja, tenor
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jirí Belohlávek, conductor
(image of Nicola Benedetti by Simon Fowler, courtesy of Decca; image of Royal Albert Hall by Marcus Ginns)
By Ben Roe | Thursday, September 8, 2011
Ralph Vaughan Williams once wrote, “The art of music, above all other arts, is an expression of the soul of a nation.”
Ten years ago, while working at NPR on a bright September morning, I felt the immediacy and poignancy of the English composer’s words first-hand.
As network journalists and producers, it was our job to report, reflect, comment, and contextualize a series of calamitous events that we could scarcely explain to ourselves. For our colleagues in the NPR newsroom the task at hand was seemingly simple and undeniably urgent. But what role could music play? Every public radio station in the country wrestled with the same question.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the newscast. The soul of the nation was in shock, and needed the therapy that only music can provide. I have chosen to follow a path in music because I feel it is unique among the arts; that is both a deeply personal experience (ask anyone around you with earbuds on), as well as an act of community (ask anyone of the 65 million Americans who have ever sung in a choir).
In those immediate days after 9/11, we witnessed abundant examples of both. For the news producers at NPR, it quickly became apparent that the interstitial music – the “connective thread” between features that are part and parcel of the public radio sound – was as important and necessary as the news itself to millions of listeners; the only way for them process such unrelentingly grim events.
That unconscious national need to come together in the concert hall was evident the first Sunday after 9/11. I will never forget producing a marathon day of memorial concerts from across the nation, a day filled with profound musical utterances, from soloists, choirs, orchestras, all seeking to “express the inexpressible”. Mozart’s searing Requiem from scarred and sooty Trinity Church in New York, hard by Ground Zero. Branford Marsalis’s plaintive soprano saxophone invoking Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday in the cavernous Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A hushed piano solo in McKeesport, Pennsylvania for the heroes of Flight 93. And, yes, a soaring, in-the-moment rendition of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending to an Atlanta audience streaked with hot, wet tears.
It’s been said that artists are merely reporters with a longer deadline: They witness, they interpret, they create…and ultimately tell us a little bit more about ourselves. In those darkest days, I learned a lot about hope, charity, humanity and forgiveness…thanks to the transformative, healing power of music.
Join us on Sunday, September 11, for a day of reflection, commentary, and music, including live performances from Jordan Hall in Boston and our own Fraser Performance Studio, as well as highlights from commemorative concerts from Trinity Church in New York and the New York Philharmonic.
Full schedule for September 11 on 99.5 All Classical
Friday, September 2, 2011
In May of 2011, Boston Baroque and music director Martin Pearlman (left), capped off their 38th season with a production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Indes Galantes at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. Not exactly opera as we think of that term now, but rather an extravagent bringing-together of music, drama, and dance particular to its time, Les Indes Galantes includes lyrical music-making, spectacular tableaux, and infectious, toe-tapping dance.
The prologue sets things in motion: Hébé, goddess of youth, laments seeing the young men of Europe lured by the goddess of war’s promises of glory, and asks Cupid to go abroad, to exotic, faraway lands (“les Indes”), in search of love.
There follow four acts, each a self-contained love story: Le Turc généreux (The Generous Turk), Les Incas du Pérou (The Incas of Peru), Les Fleurs – fête Persane (The Flowers – Persian Festival), and Les Sauvages d’Amerique (The Savages of America). The libretto and music reflect Parisian society’s fascination with the New World and the Near East. For example, two Native Americans from French colonial Louisiana were brought to Paris in 1725 and performed, inspiring Rameau to write a set of harpsichord pieces called Les Sauvages, some of which he adapted here.
Tune in to Classical New England on 99.5 WCRB in Boston or 88.7 WJMF in Providence, or stream the performance here at classicalnewengland.org at 6:30pm on Sunday, Nov. 18. The cast includes sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Nathalie Paulin, tenors Aaron Sheehan and Daniel Auchincloss, and baritones Sumner Thompson and Nathaniel Watson.
Download notes on the production
Download synopsis and cast bios
More World of Opera
Thursday, September 1, 2011
On the program:
Bernard Herrmann - Four Works (from "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Citizen Kane," "North By Northwest," and "Psycho")
Ennio Morricone - Theme from "Cinema Paradiso"
William Walton - Suite from "Henry V"
John Williams - Three Works (from "Star Wars," "Schindler's List," and "Harry Potter")
Jonny Greenwood - Three Pieces from "Norwegian Wood"
Richard Rodney Bennett - Overture, Waltz, and Finale from "The Orient Express"
John Barry - Love Theme from "Out of Africa"
John Barry and David Arnold - Music of James Bond
Friday, August 26, 2011