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World Premiere Music: updated

Posted by Kimberly 

I realized that I wanted to keep our raw post which we phoned in from the ferry, so kept that separate in previous post. Here are the revised, expanded notes on our weekend adventure:

At the Yale Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 3, 2007, we saw a world premiere, a piece composed by our friend Brian Robinson. The title of the piece is “Revelation.” It was very cool, with dissonance and sound masses. From the program: “The Revelation is a one-movement piece, beginning with a solo clarinet playing a simple B natural. It is interrupted by a blast of brass, and an ensuing cacophony of sinister revelry. What follows is a series of moody duets and trios with various instruments in the ensemble over a steady ostinato between the bassoon and contrabasson…”

It has been many years since I have thought about describing or writing about classical music. Though, my one profound thought on the piece (besides that I loved it) is that there were some uplifting, syncopated brass sections that sounded similar to Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Scheherzade. Also, in its modernness and “space”-iness, “Revelation” was somewhat related to the first piece, by “Ligeti.” So, I felt more able to appreciate Brian Robinson’s piece due to having heard “Apparitions” by “Ligeti”, and the pre-concert talk on that composer by Matt Schulman. 

Ian and I went on our grand adventure via ferry to Connecticut because we were so excited to see someone we know have a piece performed by an orchestra. Though, the concert turned out to be wonderful on many other levels, too.

World renowned pianist Boris Berman performed Mozart’s “Concerto for Piano No. 20 in D Minor K.466” with the orchestra and it was wonderful and beautiful. The conductor of the YSO, Toshiyuki Shimada, has also performed around the world. And, Mr. Shimada was not only an excellent conductor, but also very personable with the audience.

I also learned that the Yale Symphony Orchestra is something worth supporting. It is interesting that it was founded by a small group of students in 1965. The program says that the YSO is one of the premiere undergraduate orchestras in the United States, and I believe it. For more information, or to send a donation: Yale Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 201945, New Haven, CT 06520.

Ian and I enjoyed the background story on the Prokofiev piece, “Symphony No. 7.” Sergei Prokofiev first ended the piece with an uncertain note in C-sharp minor. Due to Stalin’s censorship, Prokofiev was forced to edit the piece and tack on a happy ending, a cheery coda in D-flat Major. After I heard the story and concert notes, I was surprised that the YSO chose to play the coda. Though, Brian Robinson explained some of the controversy, and that musicians often understand the coda to be the composer’s comical, over-the-top dig back at his censors. Guess Ian and I could not escape the political.

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