Nature planning to go to the Esplanade with rain, the Landmarks Orchestra live performance will seek shelter in Jordan Hall tonight.
Boston Landmarks Orchestra begins its 19th season ( and 13th on the Hatch Shell) by commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo landing on the floor of the moon. In partnership with the Museum of Science, underneath the steerage of Wayne Bouchard, the Museum’s Interim President and CEO, and Danielle Khoury LeBlanc, Director of the Museum of Science’s Charles Hayden Planetarium, Wednesday’s program explores many elements of the Apollo mission, area travel, and the wonders of the universe by means of the next works: John Adams’s Brief Journey in a Fast Machine, Leroy Anderson’s Summer time Skies, Richard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, Joaquín Rodrigo’s In Search of the Beyond, John Williams’s Close Encounters of the Third Type, and Philip Glass’s Icarus on the Edge of Time (excerpt).
Charles Wilcox, the Planetarium’s AV Producer, Jason Fletcher, Affiliate Producer, Wade Sylvester, Particular Effects Producer, and the employees of the Planetarium have created unique video work, synchronized to the orchestra’s reside efficiency. They’ve tailored materials from the Planetarium’s full-dome science exhibits: Undiscovered Worlds; Moons: Worlds of Mystery; Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA; and Destination Mars: The New Frontier. They’ve additionally used materials from the Planetarium’s in depth collection of leisure packages that includes reside musicians, entertainers, and albums by Beyoncé, David Bowie, Prince, and others.
In 1969, the moon landing stood as each an achievement and a logo. Even in the present day there is a variety of opinions about what precisely these have been, and whether the pricey enterprise was value it. Definitely, the mission brought large benefits, including the furthering of scientific research, the development of latest technologies and supplies, improvements to computing techniques, and the training of a brand new era of scientists.
To many, probably the most profound consequences of reaching the moon have been the modifications it delivered to the collective human psyche. For one factor, the Apollo mission dealt a essential blow to the phrase, “it can’t be done.” It additionally had a transformative effect on our awareness of ourselves. “Earthrise,” the photograph taken by William Anders throughout Apollo eight while in lunar orbit, changed ceaselessly how we view our planet. “The most influential environmental photograph ever taken,” is how nature photographer Galen Rowell described it. On the 50th anniversary of taking that photograph, Anders stated, “We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth.”
“The lasting legacy of the voyage to the moon,” Jill Lepore opines in a current piece in the New York Occasions, “lies in the wonder of discovery, the joy of knowledge, not the gee-whizzery of machinery but the wisdom of beauty and the power of humility.” Marvel, joy, magnificence, humility. These are the qualities we explore tonight.
John Adams’ Brief Journey in a Fast Machine was composed for a launch of a unique type: the inaugural concert of the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts on June 13, 1986, in Mansfield, MA. It’s a shot of musical adrenaline. Brash, brightly colored rhythmic cells dart across the orchestra in a minimalist fashion typical of Adams’ writing at the moment. Based on Michael Steinberg, the work makes use of “a harmonic language with an emphasis on consonance unlike anything in Western art music in the last five hundred years.” Commenting on the title, Adams as soon as stated, “You know how it is when someone asks you to ride in a terrific sports car, and then you wish you hadn’t?”
Concerning the accompanying video, Charles Wilcox writes: “We experience grand views of the solar system—Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, and Saturn’s moon Enceladus spraying liquid water out into space—shown to us by the fleet of human and robotic space missions we have sent out from Earth. We imagine future missions such as the launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (in the next phase of human space exploration) and possible tourist voyages to the Moon.”
Leroy Anderson was a grasp of miniatures, writing brief orchestral showpieces with a wit and originality that few have ever rivaled. However his highly listenable Piano Concerto proved that he might write effectively in longer varieties as properly. His profession with the Boston Pops started when, as a Harvard undergraduate, he carried out the orchestra in his personal arrangements of Harvard songs. He was quickly writing hit after hit for Fiedler, including Blue Tango, Fiddle Faddle, Sleigh Experience, and a number of different works that remain immensely well-liked at the moment. Summer time Skies was composed in 1953. Given its title, it will be applicable for any Landmarks concert, however particularly for a celebration of the moon landing. Despite its winsome melodies and amiable mood, the piece is little recognized, and we will find no document that it was ever carried out by Fiedler and the Pops.
The opening of Thus Spake Zarathustra by Richard Strauss is among the many most famous of all orchestral passages. Stanley Kubrick used it to start his iconic film, 2001: A Area Odyssey, where it accompanies a dawn as seen from area. Kubrick had it right: Strauss’s music does symbolize a dawn, mirroring the rising solar that radiates all through the first chapter of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel, Thus Spake Zarathustra. In all three works, the solar might be understood as a proxy for the awe-inspiring, unknowable, inhuman majesty of the universe.
Kubrick informed his collaborator Arthur C. Clarke that he needed to make a film about “man’s relationship to the universe… to create a work of art that would arouse the emotions of wonder, awe… terror.” His film is a space allegory concerning the evolution of humankind’s consciousness, taking philosophical concepts from Nietzsche, a narrative construction from Homer, storylines from a number of of Clarke’s brief stories, and musical inspiration from a variety of composers, together with Strauss.
The Introduction of Strauss’s Zarathustra represents a primordial daybreak. It’s the Dawn of Man, and the three rising notes in the trumpets stand for the solar, or extra usually for Nature. The entire symphonic poem could be regarded as a collection of makes an attempt to grasp Nature. And in the long run—spoiler alert!—every attempt is met with defeat. “When I wrote Zarathustra,” Strauss stated in an interview in 1921, “I wished to embody in it the conflict between man’s nature… and man’s metaphysical attempts to lay hold of his nature with his intelligence.”
Following this sensible opening, the music recedes into the lowest reaches of the orchestra to begin a piece referred to as Of the Backworldsmen. The work is split into 9 sections, which are related with out pause for probably the most part. The names of the sections are taken from chapter titles in Nietzsche’s novel. This one is a play on words, which fortunately works in English as well as it does in German. It seems like “backwoodsmen,” but is supposed to indicate primitive man usually, and a state of existence governed by worry. A theme associated with the Spirit of Man— the inquisitive facet of human nature—rises up in the bassoons, and once more shortly thereafter in the cellos and basses. The horns quote the traditional chant Credo in unum deum as the music suggests one potential answer to human inquiry: faith; or to take Nietzsche’s view: religiosity. That is the false comfort of naïve reverence, and it results in disappointment, not attainment.
The music loses focus as Of the Great Longing begins. A solo viola drifts ever greater. A momentary ‘flight of fancy’ is interrupted by a dialogue between Nature—those three rising notes once more, now in English horn and oboes—and a brand new spiritual theme in organ and winds: the Magnificat. Following the third such trade, cellos and basses challenge a new upwardly-thrusting theme, Longing, which ultimately overwhelms the spiritual music.
Of Joys and Passions opens with an outpouring of sound and a sometimes Straussian appassionato theme within the strings, strengthened by horns. This represents people’ first taste of freedom, especially freedom from dogma and superstition. The soaring melodies categorical the delights and sorrows of actual life. The theme of Longing remains in the decrease strings. The music swells to nice heights. At the peak we hear for the first time a brief theme that may assume growing significance. Trombones and tuba announce it powerfully. Strauss once referred to as this theme Ekel; in English, Disgust.
The Music of the Grave consists of a collection of rising and falling phrases. The Spirit of Man rises up, followed every time by flowing, falling scales. Settling into the lowest depths of the strings, two solo basses and two solo cellos start Of Science and Learning. Right here Strauss turns to probably the most “learned” of all musical types, the fugue. The primary part of the theme is a slowed-down version of Nature (the three notes heard at the very outset in the trumpets). The environment is stultifying. Voice after voice enters as the feel thickens and the quantity degree increases. The music ultimately breaks free in a line that skitters and soars—this can be a return to the ‘flight of fancy’ concept heard earlier. Now an essential new energetic theme emerges for the woodwinds in music that dances exuberantly. This music later becomes the primary theme of the Dance-Music.
In The Convalescent, Nature and Disgust each return. They alternate at first, but then “go at it,” seemingly engaged in battle. The fugal theme of Science is enlisted, and chaos and conflict ensue. The music builds to a strong restatement of Nature, in what quantities to a return to the opening of the complete work. We seem to have gotten nowhere.
An extended silence is followed by a stabbing chord, and a restatement of each Spirit of Man and Disgust. Then the music all of a sudden rises with new conviction. This passage might correspond to any number of pages in Nietzsche the place Zarathustra experiences a sudden want toward motion. For example: “With these words Zarathustra started up, not however like a person in anguish seeking relief, but rather like a seer and a singer whom the spirit inspires.” (Part II, Chapter 23) Strauss’s trumpet rouses the orchestra awake, recalling these strains: “Up, abysmal thought out of my depth! I am thy cock and morning dawn, thou overslept reptile: Up! Up! My voice shall soon crow thee awake!” (Part III, Chapter 57)
Now we come to the apex of Strauss’s structure, The Dance-Track. This is Strauss’s answer to Nietzsche’s promotion of the ancient concept of ‘eternal recurrence.’ The philosophical argument is too much to enter right here, however it’s partially an acknowledgement of the cycles of human life. To Nietzsche, eternal recurrence was a life-affirming various to the notion of renunciation that had been advocated by a earlier era of thinkers like Schopenhauer and Wagner. And what kind of dance has Strauss offered for this optimistic message? A Strauss waltz in fact! Not a waltz by the Waltz King, nevertheless. That was Johann Strauss II, to whom Richard was not related, at the least not intently. That is Richard Strauss, who fifteen years later would pen the waltz-infused opera, Der Rosenkavalier. As so typically in Strauss’s tone poems, the protagonist of the musical drama is the solo violinist: right here, the Landmarks Orchestra’s Concertmaster, Greg Vitale.
Now comes the ultimate defeat. We now have travelled as distant as attainable from the opening scene, with its rising sun depicting the Dawn of Man. The start of the top is signaled by Principal Percussionist Robert Schulz, who strikes twelve notes on the chimes. It is now Midnight in the life cycle of humankind. Our religious odyssey is coming to an in depth.
The conclusion is a gorgeously expansive epilogue, with a melody tinged by a tragic and noble nostalgia so characteristic of Strauss. It’s the ‘flight of fancy’ theme, slowed to the tempo of previous age. This Track of the Night time Wanderer ushers in a brand new state of being, a kindred spirit to the ennobled ‘superman’ that Nietzsche had envisaged in his novel. Listening to this music as we speak, it’s onerous to not consider that we still await such an enlightened human situation. But composing in 1896, Strauss seems already in agreement. Whereas the woodwinds play delicate excessive chords summoning a pure and peaceful state, the three rising notes of Nature are heard—not in the trumpets here, but ominously within the cellos and basses. Inscrutable Nature continues to be there, not solved, not conquered, still staring again at us.
The Houston Symphony commissioned Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo to compose a work on the event of the US Bicentennial. He had beforehand visited the Johnson Area Center, and selected as his subject the exploration of area. In Search of the Past (A la busca del más allá) begins and ends with an extended cymbal roll. Thematic fragments come and go, rising and disappearing “as if lost somewhere in space—in the other world,” in the phrases of the composer. Rodrigo was a virtuoso pianist and wrote extensively for that instrument. But his most famous work by far is his concerto for guitar and orchestra, Concierto de Aranjuez, some of the acknowledged works in the literature. Born in Valencia, Rodrigo lost his vision utterly at the age of three after contracting diphtheria. He composed utilizing the braille music system, developed by Louis Braille.
Charles Wilcox describes the accompanying video: “We begin with inspiring moonlit scenes from Earth and witness a total solar eclipse. Then we leave Earth and travel to the Moon, flying over its dramatically lit craters and mountains. Along the way we experience the wonder of a total lunar eclipse as seen from the Moon, and travel back in time to witness the violent birth and asteroid bombardment of the Moon during the early days of the solar system.”
Dvořák’s ‘Song to the Moon’ from the opera Rusalka has grow to be recognized to a large public, particularly by way of nicely publicized performances by such operatic stars as Renée Fleming and Anna Netrebko. The opera’s story is predicated on Czech fairy tales. Within the ‘Song to the Moon,’ Rusalka, a water sprite, having fallen in love with a human, pleads with the moon to intervene with the mortal man on her behalf:
Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
By means of the huge night time pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men’s houses and methods.
Oh moon, ere previous you glide, inform me,
Inform me, oh where does my beloved one bide?
Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall maintain him,
That between waking and sleeping he might
Consider the love that enfolds him.
Mild his path distant, mild his path,
Inform him, oh tell him who does for him keep!
Human soul, ought to it dream of me,
Let by memory wakened be.
Moon, moon, oh don’t wane!|
Don’t wane, moon.
Oh moon, do not wane!
John Williams’s music for Close Encounters of the Third Variety is tightly woven into Steven Spielberg’s 1977 fantasy about speaking with different life types, its five-note most important theme being a central component of the plot. The suite Williams compiled from the film rating begins with otherworldly sounds demonstrating the vary of his craft as an orchestrator, sounding for all the world like something from midcentury experimentalists like Penderecki or Ligeti. Progressively the textures and tone assume a extra acquainted type of expression, and the musical language starts to sound extra like residence. John Williams is, in fact, a revered Boston figure. And he’s eternally tied to this venue, since he’s the one dwelling composer among the many eighty-eight whose names adorn the Hatch Shell in five-inch bronze lettering.
Icarus on the Edge of Time, in its unique type, is a 40-minute multi-media work together with a musical rating by Philip Glass, narration tailored from Brian Greene’s youngsters’s e-book of the identical identify, and a film by Al Holmes and Al Taylor (Al + Al). Premiered in 2010, it’s a reimagining of the Greek fable of Icarus, by which Icarus travels not to the sun however to a black hole. It brings to life features of Einstein’s concepts of relativity for young readers. We perform excerpts from the original rating, without narration, and set to a video created by the Planetarium staff:
“From the imaginations of the space animator-artists at the Charles Hayden Planetarium come stunning, never-before-seen vistas of space and time: nebulas seething with energy and new star formation, a disk of matter swirling into a black hole to disappear forever, expanding shells of gas blown into space by dying stars, and exotic asteroids.”
Frank Sinatra’s 1964 recording of Fly Me to the Moon, with Rely Basie and his orchestra in an association by Quincy Jones, was the primary music ever heard on the moon. It was played by way of a cassette recorder by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin after he stepped onto the lunar floor. Henry Mancini’s Moon River was written for Audrey Hepburn to sing within the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It gained the Academy Award for Greatest Unique Music. Within a yr, Andy Williams had refashioned it as his theme music and sang it at the Academy Awards the next yr. Cole Porter’s Within the Still of the Night time was recorded by two outstanding bandleaders the yr it was revealed, 1937. One was Bostonian Leo Reisman, whose band Jerome Kern referred to as “The String Quartet of Dance Bands.” The opposite was Tommy Dorsey, the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing.”
Among the many biggest bandleaders of his era, Michael Andrew shouldn’t be only an entire gentleman, however a unprecedented performer. He was the headline act at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York Metropolis for two years. Michael has toured extensively, and performed with orchestras throughout the nation. He has also appeared as an actor on stage, in movie and on television. In 2012, he starred in a musical theater model of The Nutty Professor, directed by Jerry Lewis, with music by Marvin Hamlisch. We are thrilled that Michael is with us tonight to perform three moonlit hits from the good American songbook.
Christopher Wilkins was appointed Music Director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra within the spring of 2011. Since then the orchestra has helped reaffirm founder Charles Ansbacher’s imaginative and prescient of creating nice music accessible to the entire group.