MusicNOW in Cincinnati
10th March 2014
The festival features the solo electric guitar talents of Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the acclaimed rock band The National, performing Bryce Dessner's St. Carolyn by the Sea, and world premieres by the world's hottest composers Nico Muhly and Pulizer Prize-winner David Lang.
Muhly's Pleasure Ground for baritone and orchestra explores the composer's fascination with Frederick Law Olmsted — the iconic landscape architect — and with the constant change thrust onto landscape design by both nature and human intervention. The piece sets various texts, both formal and private, by Olmsted. Muhly notes, "In researching Olmsted, I realized that he was a melancholic: deeply affected by his time in the Civil War, he spent many of his later days in private anguish about how his work had been mangled and abused."
David Lang's mountain represents the first purely orchestral work by the composer in over a decade. Lang's work focuses on the unchanging nature of a mountain seen in the distance in a programmatic juxtaposition to Muhly's work. Of the piece Lang says, "I have never been much of a nature guy. Probably my favorite nature experience happened when our kids were young, when my wife and I rented a summer cottage in Vermont. It was a very modest place but there was a little balcony off the bedroom that looked right out on a mountain, and I would sit there for hours, staring at the view. I wasn't close enough to see any detail, or to differentiate among the plants or rocks or features, or to get my feet dirty. (This is really about as close to nature as I ever want to get.) What impressed me so much about the view was how unchanging it was. It was rugged and beautiful and far away and imposing and timeless, and it was that way every time I looked at it. Its dependability seemed to be a big part of its strength. Of course, time is different for different things."
Friday, March 21
Bryce Dessner St. Carolyn by the Sea
Nico Muhly Pleasure Ground
Scriabin The Poem of Ecstasy
Saturday, March 22
Krzysztof Penderecki Polymorphia
Jonny Greenwood 48 Responses to Polymorphia
David Lang mountain (World Premiere)
Prokofiev Scythian Suite
Louis Langrée, Conductor
Bryce Dessner, guitar
Aaron Dessner, guitar
Nathan Wyatt, baritone