In February, TŌN’s associate conductor James Bagwell led the orchestra in a performance of Popcorn Superhet Receiver by composer and Radiohead musician Jonny Greenwood. TŌN bassist Tristen Jarvis writes that the piece was “notably featured in the 2007 Oscar-nominated film There Will Be Blood. Deeply influenced by experimental 20th-century composers Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Arvo Pärt, Popcorn is dominated by dissonant, anxiety-provoking, microtonal clusters (evoking static from the shortwave radio catalog of an actual superheterodyne receiver), an infectious groove-based middle section, and familiar contemporary art-music atonality with occasional bursts of consonance for stability.” You can read Tristen’s full concert notes on the work by clicking here.
Conductor Leon Botstein led The Orchestra Now in a performance of Tania León‘s 2008 work Ácana in a livestreamed, physically distanced concert from the Fisher Center at Bard this past April. TŌN bassoonist Cheryl Fries writes that “León found inspiration for her chamber orchestra piece in Cuban Laureate Poet Nicolás Guillén’s poem dedicated to the Cuban tree. Sprawling to a height of 90 feet and 3 feet wide, the ácana tree is revered for its strength and wide-spreading roots. Guillén’s poem serves as an ode to the tree that is essential to Cuban life and society. The ácana’s role is described in this poem as being the pitchfork that helps to build homes, a staff to lead people safely home, and finally the table that will hold their coffins.” You can read Cheryl’s full notes on the piece, and Guillén’s poem, by clicking here.
Last October The Orchestra Now, conducted by Zachary Schwartzman, performed the 1938 Double Concerto of Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů, who passed away 62 years ago this week. In her notes on the concerto, TŌN violinist Esther Goldy Roestan writes that “The political climate in Europe was very hostile around this time, especially because Hitler was still in power, and this severely impacted Czechoslovakia, where Martinu had a lot of connections. This was the year of Kristallnacht, the Czech Crisis, and the Munich Agreement. In this concerto, Martinů clearly expressed how he felt during this difficult time, and we can hear anxiety, depression, and restlessness throughout the piece.” You can read Esther’s complete notes on the piece by clicking here.
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-26 18:18:312021-08-26 18:18:31VIDEO FLASHBACK: Martinů's Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Timpani
The Orchestra Now had the privilege of performing the world premiere of Sarah Hennies‘ Falling Together with conductor James Bagwell in a livestreamed, physically distanced concert from the Fisher Center at Bard in February. The composer writes: “For many years I have been interested in labor as musical material. Labor is a necessity for human wellbeing—both economically and psychologically—despite being a source of weariness and stress. I often compose this ‘work music’ using a series of unusual repeating patterns that represent the effort and repetition of labor. Falling Together is inspired by the orchestral work of Iannis Xenakis, who composed individual parts for each member of the orchestra rather than grouping musicians by section that play in unison. The work’s utopian ‘society’ of all members working differently but together gradually exhausts itself.”
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-25 18:18:172021-08-25 23:55:59VIDEO FLASHBACK: Sarah Hennies' Falling Together
Witold Lutosławski honored monumental 20th-century composer Bela Bartók with his piece Funeral Music, which TŌN performed in February with conductor Leon Botstein in a physically distanced concert livestreamed from the Fisher Center at Bard. TŌN violinist Adam Jeffreys writes that the work’s “prophetic tone has sparked debates about the true meaning of what the piece mourns. While it was commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Bartók’s death, one historian, Nicholas Reyald, argued that Lutosławski intended to honor Bartók by creating a work which mourned the sorrows of the 20th-century Polish experience, and which drew from his own personal tragedies and experiences.” You can read Adam’s complete concert notes on the music by clicking here.
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-19 13:39:052021-08-19 13:39:05VIDEO FLASHBACK: Witold Lutosławski’s Funeral Music
When Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin was asked to write the music for a Carmen ballet, he combined musical excerpts from three of Bizet‘s works to create his Carmen Suite. Zachary Schwartzman conducted TŌN’s performance of this work in a livestreamed, physically distanced concert from the Fisher Center at Bard this past March. TŌN percussionist Luis Herrera Albertazzi writes that “Shchedrin described the work as ‘not simply a slavish obeisance to the genius of Bizet, but rather an attempt at a creative meeting of two minds.’ The ballet was banned right after its first performance and called an insult to Bizet’s masterpiece, and for the sexualization of Carmen’s character.” You can read Luis’ full concert notes on the piece by clicking here.
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-17 12:09:382021-08-17 12:09:38VIDEO FLASHBACK: Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite (After Bizet's Opera)
Enjoy our performance of Beethoven‘s Seventh Symphony, which we performed in May with conductor Leon Botstein in a livestreamed, physically distanced concert from the Fisher Center at Bard. TŌN oboist JJ Silvey writes that “Beethoven was able to suffuse the work with a palpable sense of revolutionary zeal. As a whole, the symphony is exuberant, grand, and unbridled in its dual capacities for jubilance and sincerity.” You can read JJ’s complete concert notes on the work by clicking here.
In November 2020, conductor Andrés Rivas led TŌN in a performance of Scherzi Musicali by Ulysses Simpson Kay Jr., an African-American composer born in 1917 in Tucson, Arizona. TŌN horn player Ser Konvalin writes that “Scherzi musicali was written in 1968 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Chamber Music Society of Detroit. Kay’s compositional style is sometimes labeled as neoclassical, and his later works are sometimes labeled as atonal, crisp, and dissonant. The beauty of the chamber orchestra setting allows for each instrument to be heard clearly even while layering on top of one another.” You can read Ser’s full concert notes on the piece by clicking here.
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-10 15:33:592021-08-10 15:33:59VIDEO FLASHBACK: Ulysses Kay's Scherzi Musicali
Today we’re sharing our performance of Paul Hindemith‘s Concert Music for Piano, Brass, and Harps. TŌN tuba player Jarrod Briley calls this piece “one of the hidden gems of Hindemith’s repertoire” and says, “of the many fantastic composers throughout classical music history, I can think of few who wrote as expressively and effectively for brass instruments as Paul Hindemith.” We performed this work with pianist Blair McMillen and conductor Leon Botstein in a physically distanced concert that was livestreamed from the Fisher Center at Bard in November 2020. You can read Jarrod’s full concert notes on the music by clicking here.
http://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.png00Brian Heckhttp://theorchestranow.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TON-Logo-300x107.pngBrian Heck2021-08-05 11:00:132021-08-04 23:00:29VIDEO FLASHBACK: Hindemith's Concert Music for Piano, Brass, and Harps
Violinist Adele Anthony, cellist Peter Wiley, and pianist Shai Wosner joined TŌN and conductor Leon Botstein for a performance of Beethoven‘s Triple Concerto in a livestreamed, physically distanced concert from the Fisher Center at Bard this past May. TŌN trumpet player Maggie Tsan-Jung Wei writes that the piece “is a competition or cooperation among three soloists. The three of them may play against each other, or support each other in different phrases. Beethoven was successful not only at putting these three solo instruments together in front of a whole orchestra, but also at keeping them balanced.” You can read Maggie’s entire concert notes on the concerto by clicking here.