Commissioned in memory of Haydn, this work represents the elegance of Beethoven's early years and is not to be missed. The program also includes John Corigliano's majestic setting of Dylan Thomas's Fern Hill, and Hadyn's Te Deum |
Featuring vocal soloists Kaia Richards, soprano; Katherine McKee, alto; Jeff Barnett, tenor; Chad Runyon, bass.
John Corigliano was the son of the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic under Toscanini and Bernstein, so he grew up surrounded by music, and is now on the faculty of Juilliard and the City University of New York. Among his many students is noted choral composer Eric Whitacre. Corigliano won an Oscar for the score of "The Red Violin" in 1999, and has also won three Grammys, a Pulitzer, and numerous other prestigious awards.
Fern Hill was one of his first compositions, written shortly after he graduated from college and premiered at a local high school, but he combined it later into a larger work, Dylan Thomas Trilogy. He revised the orchestration several times, and it's currently published in three different orchestrations, which I'll call small, medium, and large. We're using the medium version at tonight's concert.
Fern Hill was Thomas's childhood home, and the poem is a remembrance of a largely carefree childhood, though told from the vantage point of old age. Time, which seemed unlimited in youth, now has imprisoned the older poet. The color green, symbolizing growth and freshness in the young boy, suggests decay in the line "Time held me green and dying." The innocence of the Garden of Eden and its companionship with animals leads inexorably to ascension to the "swallow thronged loft" of death.
Corigliano's husband, Mark Adamo (they were married in California during the brief period gay marriages were being performed before the passage of Proposition 8), is also a composer, and his opera "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene" is being premiered by the San Francisco Opera next month.
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