The Rite of Spring
April 20 – 22, 2023
GEMMA NEW conducts
ZLATOMIR FUNG cello
BORODIN Polovtsian Dances
KATHERINE BALCH Cello Concerto | World Premiere
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
“There is music wherever there is rhythm, as there is life wherever there beats a pulse,” wrote Stravinsky in one of his sketchbooks for The Rite of Spring. This quote sums up the program for this weekend. From the World Premiere by Katherine Balch, who captures the magic of everyday sounds to the dazzling orchestratrion and rhythmic creativity on display in Polovtsian Dances, to Stravinsky‚Äôs groundbreaking Rite of Spring, arguably one of the most influential pieces of music of the 20th century, rhythm, pulse, experimentation and excitement play a critical role in all three pieces.
Borodin‚Äôs Polovtsian Dances showcases the composer‚Äôs interest in opera and folk stories. A chemist by occupation, Borodin viewed composition as a pastime, distracting him from his principal profession and this work was no exception. Based on the 12th century poem, ‚ÄúThe Epic of Igor‚Äôs Army,‚ÄĚ Polovtsian Dances tells the story of a heroic 12th-century Russian prince as he defends against invading nomadic tribes. Enjoy it‚Äôs rhythmic creativity and dazzling orchestration.
Then, immerse yourself in the magic of everyday sounds in the World Premiere of Kathreine Balch‚Äôs Cello Concerto. In describing her compositional techniques, the San Francisco Chronicle describes her as ‚Äúsome kind of musical Thomas Edison- you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas.‚ÄĚ She invites audiences into a sonic world characterized by imagination, discovery, and textural lyricism.
Finally, we conclude the concert with arguably one of the most influential pieces of music of the 20th century, Stravinsky‚Äôs groundbreaking Rite of Spring. Written in two large sections, ‚ÄúThe Adoration of the Earth ” and ‚ÄúThe Sacrifice,‚ÄĚ both sections‚Äô musical structures are formed around many repeating rhythmic patterns or ostinatos and fragments of melodies from different Russian and Lithuanian folk songs. Often thought of as the epitome of the 20th century, you will not want to miss the piece that quite literally caused a full-scale riot during its premiere in 1913 at the Th√©√Ętre des Champs-Elys√©es.