Albany Symphony, From Carnegie Hall

The Spring for Music festival was created out of an urge to explore new ways of approaching orchestral programs.  The festival chose orchestras for the seven-concert event on the basis of proposed programs and artistic philosophy, and we're thrilled to bring you each concert in a live webcast, with four of them also broadcast on 99.5, Boston's All Classical Station. 
[complete concert schedule]

Wednesday night at 8pm on 99.5 All Classical, the Albany Symphony performs Spirituals Re-Imagined. Here are excerpts from program notes by conductor David Alan Miller:

In designing a program around the “New World” Symphony a few years ago, I wanted to feature some of the spirituals that had moved Dvorak so deeply and had exerted such a powerful influence on that work. I was surprised and frustrated to discover how few artistically compelling orchestral versions of spirituals were available. I decided to invite some of my favorite American composers from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds each to select his or her favorite spiritual and clothe it in his or her own unique orchestral fabric. The set was so varied and appealing that two years later, the Albany Symphony and I commissioned a second set. Tonight’s program grows out of those two years of commissions and the thirteen new versions of classic spirituals they generated.

Tonight we will present eight of them, preceded by George Tsontakis’s “Let the River Be Unbroken.” The 1994 work is woven from folk songs that were sung in Virginia during the Civil War era and before.

To close the program, the orchestra will present the seldom-heard complete Appalachian Spring, in the full orchestra version. The original ballet had strong abolitionist overtones. In fashioning his popular suite from the ballet, Copland removed about twelve minutes of music, including an extraordinarily powerful, eight-minute central section depicting the arrival of a fugitive slave and the mother’s strong denunciation of slavery. When reinstated, the three sections—“Fear in the Night,” “Day of Wrath” and “Moment of Crisis”—make the ballet a less bucolic, much more intensely dramatic narrative work.

For complete program notes, visit Spring for Music.

(photos:  Carnegie Hall - Jeff Goldberg/Esto;  David Alan Miller - Gary Gold)


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