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News - Salonen and Lang premieres

Monday, May 19, 2014
Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the Los Angeles Master Chorale has commissioned works from Esa-Pekka Salonen and also from David Lang. The pieces will be premiered on June 8 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles conducted by Grant Gershon.

iri da iri by Esa-Pekka Salonen, co-commissioned by Swedish Radio, is for a cappella chorus and is based on Dante’s Paradiso, the final section of Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy. Drawn to the universal perspective in the poem’s conclusion, Salonen says, “It goes beyond the religious. At the end Dante has to admit that the only thing he knows is that love is what makes the planets and stars, the whole cosmos work.” Salonen took musical cues from the poem’s meter and three-line stanzas, which provided an inherent structure at times linear and others “densely contrapuntal.”

David Lang has set the national anthems to excerpts from national anthems worldwide. He describes the piece, composed for a large choir and string quartet, as a “meta-anthem of all the hopes and dreams that everyone in the world has in common.” With its range of just over one octave – consistent with the range of most anthems for relative ease of singing – Lang says it is “something that everyone can conceivably sing from start to finish.”

The concert also includes a revival of Gabriela Lena Frank's Los Cantores de las Montañas (“The Singing Mountaineers") to the poetry of José María Argueda. The Los Angeles Times describes it as “fond, alluring music that sounds like a vivid memory of a place. Huayucaltia, LA’s innovative Latin American folk jazz ensemble, is featured with the Chorale. Formed in 1985, the instrumental group, rooted in the ideals of Latin America’s nueva cancion (new song) movement of the 1970’s, skilfully fuses Andean, Afro-Peruvian, jazz, rock and classical influences.

More details about the concert can be found here.

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