Carnegie Hall’s annual Spring for Music festival provides an invaluable platform to explore orchestral programming. Designed to allow participating North American orchestras to “showcase their artistic philosophies through distinctive and adventurous programming… the festival becomes a musical laboratory with lively and attentive audiences that can foster greater innovation in each orchestra's home market.” With this ambitious mission, it comes as no surprise that Spring for Music plays host to an abundance of Schirmer compositions in the 2011 season.
On May 6, the festival opens with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performing six “New Brandenburgs.” These works were all commissioned by Orpheus and include Aaron Jay Kernis’ Concerto With Echoes, scored for violas, cellos and basses (the absence of violins is notable). The composer writes, “The essential element in the Sixth Brandenburg Concerto that inspired this work comes from its very first measure — the opening passage with two spiraling solo violas, like identical twins following each other breathlessly through a hall of mirrors — the echoing of the title.”
The following evening, the Toledo Symphony will pair Shostakovich Symphony No. 6 with the first full orchestral performance in New York City of André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favor. Described by Alan Franks (The Times) as “a haunting and bleakly funny piece of work,” the operetta blends fantasy and reality in a tale about two inmates of a Soviet mental hospital: one a sane political dissident, the other a man who believes he possesses a symphony orchestra.
The Albany Symphony presents a program of “Spirituals Reimagined” on May 10 and features John Harbison’s brief but powerful Ain’t Goin’ To Study War No More sung by baritone Nathan Myers.
For complete information about these concerts and to order tickets, please visit the Spring for Music website.