Listen: Architecture, Creation & Music

Listen: Architecture, Creation & Music
On April 22, 2016 Nathaniel Stookey’s Yield to Total Elation receives its world premiere at the SF Soundbox, in memory of the visionary architect Achilles G. Rizzoli (1896-1981). A.G. Rizzoli was a reclusive architectural draftsman by day, with a secret passion for creating majestic and imaginary artworks he called "Symbolic Sketches" by night. These sketches depict structures of sheer magnificence, each one representing a friend or loved one. Inspiration for these drafts also came from visions and the voices Rizzoli heard, voices he believed to have divine origins. These Beaux Arts-styled architectural renderings were drawn unbeknownst to any of Rizzoli’s friends or family. It was only after his death and the discovery of his creations that he gained notoriety.

In honor of Stookey’s premiere, this playlist compiles works by other composers who have drawn inspiration from both religious themes and/or architecture. Whether divine in theme or not, these compositions bridge music and architecture, emphasizing their similarity in structure, unifying design, repeating motives, and more.

"Liquid architecture. It’s like jazz — you improvise, you work together, you play off each other, you make something, they make something. . . . For me, it’s a way of trying to understand the city, and what might happen in the city." — Frank Gehry

Listen on Spotify

Barry Guy
After the Rain (1992)
After the Rain was inspired by Guy’s own reverence for contemporary and improvised music, painting and architecture.
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Wing on Wing (2004)
Written in homage to the renowned architect Frank Gehry after he designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, Wing on Wing is named after the sailing term that describes the 180-degree angle formed between the foresail and the main sail, similar to the angles on the facade of Gehry's concert hall. This work also includes artful excerpts of Gehry’s voice.
Giles Swayne
CRY (1979)
This work was inspired by the seven days of creation in Christianity, each of its seven movements corresponding to one day. The work is also an accolade to planet Earth's architecture. The movements may be performed separately.
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Skabelsen - den 6. dag (1991)
This Danish title of this work translates to "The Creation — the 6th Day," an allusion to the day in the Bible on which all the creatures that live on dry land were created.

Additional Works Inspired by Architecture and Stories of Creation

Andrei Petrov
Creation of the World, Suite from the Ballet (1968) This upbeat and exciting piece comes from Andrei Petrov’s ballet Chaos and Satan. Available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only.
Gunther Schuller
Tre Invenzioni for Chamber Ensembles (1972)
for large ensemble
Gunther Schuller explained that Tre Invenzioni, or three inventions, drew from his enthusiasm for the Italian Renaissance, and more specifically for its music, painting, and architecture.
John Corigliano
Creations: Two Scenes from Genesis (1972)
for chamber orchestra
The two scenes, "Creation of the World" and the "Creation of Adam and Eve," outline the unfolding of God's schematic plans.
Louis Gruenberg
The Creation: A Negro Sermon (1925)
This work also describes the creation of the world by God.

Michael Gordon
Beijing Harmony (2012)
for large orchestra
Gordon musically reproduces his visit to China with echoing meditative harmonies that mirror Beijing's ancient architectural feats: the Echo Wall and the Temple of Heaven.
Missy Mazzoli
Holy Roller (2012)
for orchestra
Mazzoli was inspired by the visionary "outsider" architecture of Ferdinand Cheval and Simon Rodia to create her own "outsider" music. Holy Roller aurally represents a cathedral of found musical objects; a sonic temple of bottle caps and broken glass.
Naresh Sohal
Tandava Nritya (1984)
for large orchestra
Performed by Lord Shiva in Hinduism, the Tandava Nritya is a dance that illustrates the destruction and recreation of the universe.
Robert Walker
for 2 pianos
Robert Walker’s tonal Passacaglia illustrates his interest in contemporary architecture.
Simon Bainbridge
Music Space Reflection (2006)
for sinfonietta
Music Space Reflection was written as a response to Daniel Libeskind's architectural work.
Tarik O’Regan
All Creation Slept (2012)
for a cappella chorus
O'Regan's piece uses excerpts from "A Cradle Song," the poem by William Blake that describes all that God created that rests.
Yehudi Wyner
Sonata (1954)
for piano
Wyner's Sonata was inspired by the Neoclassicist architectural style and an anthology by Frank Lloyd Wright.
This playlist was contributed by Liam Alves