Eight delightful miniatures in totally different styles, yet all unmistakably Bernstein.
The Concertgebouworkest has organised all its concert programmes in January to reflect the theme ‘Made in America’.
Vast prairies, the chaos of the metropolis, mountains and forests, deserts and skyscrapers. The scenic diversity of the United States is infinite. Its population is equally diverse – a mosaic of cultural backgrounds. That diversity is also reflected in American composed music. Yet all these musical styles often seem to be connected in some way. What makes American music American?
Conductor Paavo Järvi conducts a colourful programme in which classical music, popular styles and experimentation enrich one another in a way which could only be possible in America. On the one hand, there’s George Walker, the first African American winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music. His Lyric for strings, inspired by Samuel Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings, is a melodious work that leaves few hearts unmoved. On the other is the exciting Amériques by Edgard Varèse, who found in America the openness and the urge to modernise which he was missing in Europe. Accessibility and experimentation go hand in hand in the energetic opening work, Julia Wolfe’s Fountain of Youth.
The melting pot of cultures which is the United States has resulted in all kinds of blends of classical music, jazz and Latin. The orchestra’s principal clarinettist Calogero Palermo takes centre stage in Aaron Copland’s jazzy Clarinet Concerto. The programme also features a late work by Leonard Bernstein – Divertimento, comprising eight delightful miniatures, each in a totally different style yet always unmistakably Bernstein.