This is one of our 6 subscription series concerts, and is included within a member’s subscription ticket.
Overview: Our opening concert has an American theme and includes Copland’s joyous ‘Appalachian Spring’, Barber’s intense ‘Adagio’ for strings and his quirky ‘Capricorn Concerto’. Completing the programme is the Second Violin Concerto of Philip Glass, ‘The American Four Seasons’ an affectionate tribute to Vivaldi, unusual for its use of a synthesiser within the body of strings and adding a modern touch to the music.
Our conductor for the evening is Karin Hendrickson who is the Associate Artist at Sage Gateshead, Assistant Conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Music Director of the Young Sinfonia in association with RNS.
COPLAND: Appalachian Spring Suite
BARBER: Adagio for Strings
BARBER: Capricorn Concerto
PHILIP GLASS: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Kyra Humphreys violin
Stephen Hudson oboe, Richard Martin trumpet, Amy Yule flute
Our season opens with the Royal Northern Sinfonia performing a concert of American music written between 1936 and 2009, with a hint of 18th century Vivaldi thrown in.
We begin with Aaron Copland’s (1900-1990) Appalachian Spring Suite, which premiered in 1944 as a ballet, and was edited into an orchestral suite in 1945. Interestingly when composing the work, Copland was inspired by the American Shaker movement rather than the Appalachian mountains, and the ‘spring’ referred to in the title is a reference to a water source and not his local climate.
Two pieces by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) follow. We are fortunate that his parents’ dreams of him being a professional footballer did not come true, for he went on to write Adagio for Strings in 1936, shortly before he was recruited to the US Army. This work has featured in many television shows and films, including the emotional opening scenes of the Oscar winning Platoon. Barber’s Capricorn Concerto of 1944 was composed during the clamour of his military service in WW2, when he was nostalgic for the peace and calm of ‘Capricorn’, his house in New York state.
We finish with the 2009 American Four Seasons by Phillip Glass (1937 – ), who’s musical aspirations were grounded in his father’s record shop. Written as a companion piece to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons it is quite different, yet at times one can hear echoes of Vivaldi’s famous themes. Unlike Vivaldi, Glass leaves it to the listener to interpret where each of the seasons might lie within the movements. It is to be hoped that the raging storm conjured up by Glass in the final minutes does not await us on our journey home.