Copland's Appalachian Spring and Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

David Robertson David Robertson (Michael Tammaro)

Michelle de Young, mezzo-soprano, joins the New York Philharmonic under the direction of David Robertson. Included in this week's program is Copland's Appalachian Spring, Elliot Carter's Of Rewaking Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah. Tune in Thursday at 9pm ET.

Program Details:

CONDUCTOR: David Robertson

SOLOIST: Michelle de Young, mezzo-soprano

COPLAND: Appalachian Spring (Full Orchestra)

Elliott CARTER: Of Rewaking

BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah

Christopher ROUSE: Rapture


Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

Deft programming is the watchword for these Twentieth Century masters. Originally titled "Ballet for Martha", later "Appalachian Spring" because Martha Graham liked the title, the Copland work is one of the touchstones of his intentionally accesible style, here played with sentiment in the opening and closing sections and raucous good humor in the fast passages. The "Jeremiah Symphony", Bernstein's first symphony, is for me one that sounds like none other --- it's among the first works I ever heard by him, along with orchestra extracts from "On the Town" and "Facsimile" --- and it's one of the earliest manifestions of his genius for evoking a theatrical spirit in "Profanation", and an equally moving inward meditation that we "overhear" in "Lamentation". In "Prophecy", at Number 12, (Sostenuto assai), a climax is achieved on the full orchestra with great logical buildup and no grandstanding. In "Profanation", a rhythm often used by Bernstein 4/4 followed by 3/8 followed by 4/4 at Number 17 "L'istesso tempo" later manifested itself in "America", but here is part and parcel of the polymetric scheme, along with orchestration, that so vividly evokes "Profanation". Touches of genius abound, such as flutter-tongue called for in the trumpets over open fifths in the horns. I'm not familiar with any other composer who asks for the timpani to be played by maracas, as Bernstein does on occasion in this work, and as he later did in "West Side Story" et al. Michelle de Young's pronunciation of Hebrew was precise; and the entire spirit of the Symphony was entered into by David Robertson and the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein recorded the work for the second time, the first being with the St. Louis Symphony and finally with the Israel Philharmonic. I only wish Bernstein had chosen to give an analysis of the "Jeremiah Symphony" in print or orally in a TV lecture.

Jan. 12 2016 10:07 AM

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