This is an example of a program that perfectly expresses the personality of the orchestra playing it – the Edmonton Symphony. It was one of the most popular (and most fun) programs of the 2012 Spring For Music festival. And it was built around new music – in this case a first half of commissions by the Edmonton Symphony of Canadian composers. The second half was the big, showy First Symphony by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu.
- Music director William Eddins has been committed to new music through a serious composer-in-residence program and commissioned works. The first half of the program presents three composers from that initiative, all of high contrast.
- This is an orchestra that is capable of wide ranging musical styles, and it is particularly evident in Allan Gilliland’s Dreaming of the Masters III, a work that under other circumstances might have been programmed as part of a pops program. By presenting it in a serious context, with a marvelous soloist and performed so compellingly demonstrated the breadth of the orchestra’s style. Trumpet soloist Jens Lindemann entertained as he moved around the stage interacting with different sections of the orchestra.
- This is an orchestra and conductor that searches for unusual repertoire. The Martinu symphonies are rarely performed and the First is a big, lush and glorious tapestry of sound. This was its first performance in Carnegie Hall in about 50 years.
You can listen to a short excerpt of each piece below for a flavor of the works. To hear the entire program, listen to the live broadcast from Carnegie Hall at the bottom of this post. There is also a list of the program below the recordings in which the names of the composers and performers are linked so you can read more about them. Finally, there’s a stream of an interview of Edmonton Symphony music director William Eddins talking about this program.
Robert Rival Lullaby
A quiet opening – as Allan Kozinn wrote in the New York Times: “gentle textures and flowing themes occasionally yield surprising harmonic turns and briskly changing meters.”
John Estacio Triple Concerto
A piece of contrasts – one moment highly complex textures immediately followed by long, flowing lyrical lines. A heroic piece that expresses a yearning melodic sweep.
Allan Gilliland Dreaming of Masters III
This was written for pops concerts and takes a tour of several jazz styles, including swing and Latin. It shows off the personable trumpet soloist Jens Lindemann, and the orchestra, which is completely comfortable playng in this style.
Bohuslav Martinu Symphony No. 1
The First Symphony was written in 1942, right after the composer had moved to the US. It’s big, sweeping and expressive, optimistic even, even while World War II raged in Europe.
Here’s a recording of the live performance of this program at Carnegie Hall:
|ROBERT RIVAL||Lullaby (US premiere)*|
|JOHN ESTACIO||Triple Concerto (US premiere)*
Angela Cheng, piano
Juliette Kang, violin
Denise Djokic, cello
|ALLAN GILLILAND|| Dreaming of the Masters III (US premiere)*
Jens Lindemann, trumpet
|BOHUSLAV MARTINů||Symphony No. 1|
Want to add more information about any of the performers, composers or recordings related to this program? Add it to the S4MU wiki page.
Class Discussion Here
Does this program work for you? Would you have been inclined to attend this concert, given that none of the pieces is familiar? This is an attractive and entertaining program – but because it doesn’t have any big names or familiar pieces, how do you make an audience for it? The orchestra performed in specially-designed shirts made for the occasion. They fit the character of the program and occasion, but do you care about things like this? Add your voice below.