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Richard Danielpour

Publisher: AMP

Rocking the Cradle (2007)
Commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop Music Director Designate, through a gift from Solomon H. Snyder and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Programme Note
Richard Danielpour Rocking the Cradle (2007)
22 March 2007
Baltimore Symphony/Juanjo Mena
Baltimore, MD

The first half of Danielpour’s work, titled “Shock and Awe,” began with the lowest growls of bass and tympani. The rumblings were interrupted by heavenly violins, which were in turn interrupted by themes alternating through various flavors of dissonance and resolution. The theme of Brahms’s lullaby was mixed and macerated into this heaving orchestra, its melody more corrupted and distorted with each cycle until it disappeared completely. The strangeness of this music was on striking display in the frenzied percussion section, who rapidly shifted from station to station, offering small bursts of rhythm from rarely-used instruments, in addition to cacophonous bursts from the tympani. The same musicians ended the dramatic second movement with a curious solo for singing bowl. It was a fitting finale for a piece whose mission was to provoke debate. As such, the performance ended not with a bang, but with a question mark. The audience enthusiastically received the symphony and the composer.
Matthew Stoff , Burgh Sounds Blog,30/04/2010
No words are intoned in Richard Danielpour's extraordinary new symphonic work. They're not needed. Rocking the Cradle, premiered last night by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, speaks volumes about the American composer's impassioned views on the war in Iraq. Listeners uncomfortable with the idea of classical musicians taking stands on controversial issues may want to skip the concert, which is repeated tonight and tomorrow morning at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Same for those disinclined to be within earshot of anti-war sentiment. Just about everyone else, I suspect, will find the experience rewarding, even gripping. (Last night's awfully small audience responded with a prolonged ovation.) Of course, Danielpour's half-hour score can be appreciated on a purely abstract level. Like his Celestial Night, written about a decade ago, Rocking the Cradle is a symphony in two movements, the first fast, the other slow. The well-crafted, clear-cut structure is supported by a vivid harmonic language expressed through prismatic instrumentation.
Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun,23/03/2007
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