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News - Corigliano Symphony No. 1 – A Tragic Symphony for the Ages

Gustavo Dudamel and John Corigliano
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Critics along the route of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's North American tour of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1 were profoundly convinced of the symphony's staying power. Mark Swed, reviewing the initial performances of the tour for The Los Angeles Times, noted how the orchestra, in an "astonishing" performance, "brought back the urgency" of Corigliano's work: "The symphony, which now has the character of a vivid canvas of human struggle, has never sounded stronger or more important." Writers nationwide agreed:
"The best came first, with a fiercely committed and powerful performance of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1…When it was introduced, this wrenching, frenzied score proved a salve for countless listeners coping with their grief…Mr. Dudamel and the orchestra were presenting the work with the distance of a quarter century. Perhaps it is more possible now to hear the piece as a compelling symphonic score, especially as played in this shattering performance…There was a long standing ovation when Mr. Corigliano appeared onstage."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times "A moving work of rage and remembrance, the symphony shouts and thunders its grief, though one of its most memorable moments is a recurring quiet passage in which the strings play a slow and sorrowful melody while an offstage pianist lofts innocent phrases from an Albeniz tango. The sense of mournful recollection is palpable….When Corigliano took the stage afterward, he was given a prolonged ovation."
— Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe "John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, a 1990 score of extravagant orchestral means and frightening intensity, manages to be personal and cataclysmic at the same time….this performance left no doubt of the power of the score.
— Arthur Kaptainis, National Post (Toronto) "The symphony has lost none of its rage and sorrow, but the source of its rage has receded. We are left with a kind of nostalgia bringing the work into line with so many other great landmarks of the canon…A moving and evocative piece.
— Anne Midgette, The Washington Post "Corigliano's shattering symphony uses extraordinary subtlety to commemorate those he lost to the disease, most poignantly through references to the bittersweet Albeniz/Godowsky "Tango" that a pianist friend had often played….This bold, brilliant work sounded as relevant and involving as ever."
— Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun "After a quarter century, Corigliano's opus can stand as a universal commentary on life and fate."
— Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury-News

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