Los Angeles Philharmonic: Dudamel and Music from the Americas
Saturday, February 27, 2016 @ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Depart USC at 6:30 p.m., return at 10:30 p.m.
Venezuelan-born Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, will conduct the LA Phil in a vibrant program of music from North and South America. The evening will include John Williams’s Soundings, which the composer created to capture the “colorful sonorities” of Walt Disney Concert Hall; Alberto Ginastera’s furious and fantastic Piano Concerto no. 1; a world premiere of a new work by Los Angeles–based composer Andrew Norman, who aims to create “propulsive energy” in his compositions; and Appalachian Spring, a lively and beloved work by the great American composer Aaron Copland.
Celebrated composer and conductor John Williams (b. 1932) wrote Soundings for the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003, "as an experimental piece [...] in which a collection of colorful sonorities could be sampled in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's new environment." The piece is one elongated movement in five sections:
You can hear an excerpt of the piece at http://www.laphil.com/philpedia/music/soundings-world-premiere-john-williams and watch various video recordings on YouTube; unfortunately, USC does not currently own an official copy (but we will soon!). Mark Swed's LA Times review of the debut performance can also be accessed at http://articles.latimes.com/2003/oct/26/entertainment/et-review26.
Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) has been considered one of the most important twentieth-century classical composers of the Americas, dividing his own career into three stylistic periods: "objective nationalism" (1934-47), featuring the Argentine landscape and an appropriation of national elements in a primarily tonal manner; "subjective nationalism" (1947 -57), continuing to use Argentine tonal or polytonal language but with refined vernacular elements; and "neo-Expressionism" (1958-83), where he experimented with more aesthetic techniques (dodecaphony, serialism, and magic surrealism) while limiting nationalism in his compositions. (The aforementioned has been paraphrased from Deborah Schwartz-Kates' article in Grove Music Online.)
The Piano Concerto No. 1 hails from the third period, having been completed and premiered in 1961 in Washington, D.C. by João Carlos Martins and the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Howard Mitchell. The Boosey & Hawkes website includes descriptions of the movements at http://www.boosey.com/cr/music/Alberto-Ginastera-Piano-Concerto-No-1/5963.
Below is an official YouTube recording from 1961 by Oscar Tarrago with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, conducted by Enrique Bátiz:
Appalachian Spring is one of Aaron Copland's (1900-1990) most well-known compositions and one could argue a similar status for North American works as well. Originally written as a ballet in 1944 on commission from the choreographer and dancer Martha Graham and premiered by her at the Library of Congress (for which Copland later won the Pulitzer Prize), the orchestral suite version has endured as a favorite of audience and performer alike.
The ending variations of the piece are built upon the Shaker song "Simple Gifts", which has been used in other musical works from Judy Collins to R.E.M. to Weezer. On an interesting (but perhaps not coincidental) side-note, John Williams also composed Air and Simple Gifts for the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
Myriad recordings of Appalachian Spring exist, here's just one:
Open to USC students only. Reservations required.
This trip is for current USC students only. You must use the provided transportation to participate. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Check-in for the event will begin at 5:45 p.m. on campus. Buses will depart at 6:30 p.m. and return to campus at 10:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided at check-in.
See http://visionsandvoices.usc.edu/los-angeles-philharmonic-dudamel-and-music-from-the-americas/ for more information