BBC Proms 2012 - Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo concert

Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo at BBC Proms 2012

Conducted by the American conductor and violinist Marin Alsop, the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) (São Paulo State Symphony) performs Dvořák, Copland, Tower, Villa-Lobos, Ginastera and Lobo at the BBC Proms 2012. Soloist: Nelson Freire (piano). Recorded on August 15, 2012 at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Programme

  1. Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op 95 (1)
  2. Aaron Copland – Fanfare for the Common Man (2)
  3. Joan Tower – Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (3)
  4. Heitor Villa-Lobos – Momoprécoce (piano: Nelson Freire, the Brazilian classical pianist) (4)
  5. Alberto Ginastera – Estancia, Op 8a – suite (5)
  6. Edu Lobo – Pé de Vento from Suíte Popular Brasileira, orch. Nelson Ayres

Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op 95

The symphony was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893 and also known as “The New World Sypmhony”.

Movements

  1. (0:37) Adagio, 4/8 – Allegro molto, 2/4, E minor
  2. (10:42) Largo, common time, D-flat major, then later C-sharp minor
  3. (23:30) Scherzo: Molto vivace – Poco sostenuto, 3/4, E minor
  4. (32:07) Allegro con fuoco, common time, E minor, ends in E major

Where the name comes from

Dvořák was interested in Native American music and the African-American spirituals he heard in America. As director of the National Conservatory he encountered an African-American student, Harry T. Burleigh, later a composer himself, who sang traditional spirituals to him and said that the Czech composer had absorbed their ‘spirit’ before writing his own melodies. Dvořák stated:

“I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them.”

The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and premiered on December 16, 1893, at Carnegie Hall conducted by Anton Seidl. A day earlier, in an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, Dvořák further explained how Native American music had been an influence on this symphony:

“I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral color.”

In the same article, Dvořák stated that he regarded the symphony’s second movement as a “sketch or study for a later work, either a cantata or opera … which will be based upon Longfellow’s (The Song of) Hiawatha (also known as Ayenwatha, Aiionwatha, or Haiëñ’wa’tha; Onondaga; was a pre-historical Native American leader and co-founder of the Iroquois confederacy)” (Dvořák never actually wrote such a piece). He also wrote that the third movement scherzo was “suggested by the scene at the feast in Hiawatha where the Indians dance”.

In 1893, a newspaper interview quoted Dvořák as saying “I found that the music of the negroes and of the Indians was practically identical”, and that “the music of the two races bore a remarkable similarity to the music of Scotland”. Most historians agree that Dvořák is referring to the pentatonic scale, which is typical of each of these musical traditions.

Fanfare for the Common Man

Fanfare for the Common Man is a musical work by American composer Aaron Copland. The piece was written in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under conductor Eugene Goossens. It was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in the same year where vice president Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the “Century of the Common Man”. Several alternative versions have been made and fragments of work have appeared in many subsequent US and British cultural productions, such as in the musical scores of movies.

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman is a composition by Joan Tower. Parts I, II, III and V were written for brass. Part IV of the piece is for full orchestra. The whole score includes 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, 2 bass drums, 5 cymbals, 2 gongs, tam-tam, tom-toms, the triangle, glockenspiel, marimba, and chimes. Tower began writing the piece in 1987 and revised the whole piece in 1997. It was originally inspired by Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and employs the same instrumentation while adding the glockenspiel, marimba, chimes, and drums. The piece was composed while she was a composer-in-residence for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Momoprécoce

Momoprécoce, fantasy for piano and orchestra. The composition is said to have been inspired by the children’s carnival in Rio’s suburbs during the actual three days of the carnival. Children are then dressed as adults and like them form historical processions. The aim of Momoprécoce was to create colorful musical pictures of this great folk festival of Brazil. The piece is dedicated to the Brazilian-born pianist (of French parents) Magda Tagliaferro.

Estancia Dances Op.8

In 1941, Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera was commissioned to write a Ballet comprising One Act and Five scenes, that was based on and would depict pastoral life in Argentina. He closely based his score on the great epic poem Martín Fierro by Jose Hernandez, which tells the story of the Argentinean cowboys, or Gaucho — nomadic and heroic figures who are the subject of much of the country’s folklore.

The story tells of a city boy who watches, and falls in love with, a country maiden. Despite initial contempt for him, her feelings turn to admiration as he demonstrates he can perform the rough and difficult work and proves his skill in taming wild horses. Estancia is set over the passage of a single day: dawn, morning, afternoon, night, and dawn.

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