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Richard Danielpour

Publisher: AMP

Apparitions (2003)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
28 Minutes
Programme Note
Richard Danielpour Apparitions (2003)
These ‘apparitions’ are a collection of pieces inspired by fantasies, dreams and stories of the supernatural, often involving the relationships between people. They were composed during a twenty-day period in December 2000 in Palm Beach, Florida, not far from where I grew up, and where some of the stories are set.

Rodolfo’s Dream is a continuation of Puccini’s La Bohéme, in which the yearning Rodolfo dreams of his beloved Mini returning to him from beyond the grave and beckoning to him to join her.

In Katrina and the Children, the wife of railroad tycoon Spencer Trask hosts a lavish party in their mansion, Yaddo, located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Katrina Trask lost each of her children, one by one, in the great Diphtheria Epidemic around the turn of the twentieth century. In this movement, the entire family is reunited beyond the ravages of time in the old mansion. The evening turns into a ghostly ball, as guests from a century ago materialize to share the reunion. (Yaddo was converted into an artists retreat by Trask’s family, and still operates as such today.)

Swan song revolves around a personal incident in my life. My grandmother died at the age of 88 in July 2000, three years after her husband had passed away. In the last year of her life, she was stricken with Parkinson’s disease as well as a form of acute arthritis, and had become largely silent. Several days before her death, she suddenly began speaking again, saying that her husband was standing in the room and waiting for her. On the evening of her death, she sang Persian songs to her dearly departed and her loved ones felt that they could hear but one side of an enduring love duet.

Last Tango at the Teatro Colón evokes the famous theater in Buenos Aries considered by many to be one of the finest opera houses in the western hemisphere. After World War II and into the 1950’s, many refugees arrived from Europe, including Jewish holocaust survivors and Nazis fleeing the collapse of the Third Reich. It made for an extremely tense audience at lavish performances: Jews on the left and Nazis on the right, all gathered for a common love of the music, and all compelled to behave politely – in public, at least. The Teatre Colón was also famous for trysts. There was a row of private boxes at ground level, where one could see out, but no one could see in to observe the forbidden passions. And so the two groups gathered – one united by passion and the other clothed in animosity, yet united by the love of opera.

This is the strangest tale of all. Johnnie Brown was the pet monkey of the famous Florida architect Mizner, who designed much of Palm Beach in the years after World War I. When the monkey died, Mizner had him laid to rest in state along fashionable Worth Avenue with a gravestone that read “Johnnie Brown – The Human Monkey.”
Although the architect lived for many years, he was reportedly never the same after his beloved companion died. This movement explores the abstract relationship between man and beast, and asks the age-old question: “Who is really the master? The man or the monkey?”

--Richard Danielpour

Richard Danielpour's Fourth String Quartet subtitled "Apparitions" is a piece with a big heart, which it wears on its sleeve. It made a strong impression at its world premiere, in a meticulous and soulful performance by the American String Quartet -- for which it was composed on commission for the Friends of Chamber Music's 25-year celebration this season. Ostensibly a series of dreams, ghost tales and real-life experiences, the quartet is cast in a Bartok-like five-movement design, with a rhapsodic central slow movement flanked by two raucous scherzos, which are in turn flanked by passionate but introverted ruminations. By the end of the 30-minute piece we realized that "Apparitions" was indeed a piece of music...Danielpour infused [his] new quartet with heart and craft. As a piece of craftsmanship it is impeccable, with all of the carefully measured but always palpable emotional content with which the composer has made an indelible mark on contemporary American music. Its language is tonal, but with ample dissonance and Bartokian excursions that always seem to arrive squarely on a tonic chord.
Paul Horsley, The Kansas City Star,01/01/0001
For the final concert of its season, the New Jersey Symphony returned to familiar territory, with Zdenek Macal and another new work by composer Richard Danielpour. Back in 1997, this was the same team that helped inaugurate the orchestra's new home at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and it must be said that the combination has lost not of its potency since then. The world premiere of Danielpour's APPARITIONS [was] an orchestrated version for strings and percussion of his STRING QUARTET NO. 4. The score translates well to the larger format, with its odd mix of supernatural themes and lyrical string writing...It's a work with delicious [and] shadowy material.
Willa J. Conrad, Newark Star-Ledger,01/01/0001
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