A Single Rose: Modernism in the Americas – Program Notes

A Single Rose: Modernism in the Americas
Program Notes

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 is the final piece in a set of nine suites by Villa-Lobos written between 1930 and 1945.The music draws mostly on Brazilian folk and popular idioms while incorporating Baroque harmonies and counterpoint.Each of the Bachianas Brasileiras is written for a different ensemble: some orchestra, some chamber ensembles, some for soloists and only one that includes choir – No.9.

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae was written in 1946, when Ginastera was 30 years old, during a period of study with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.Ginastera was a prominent figure in Argentina’s musical scene during the 1950s and 1960s, and composed mostly nationalistic music.In this early work, one can hear the influence of Copland as well as strong elements of Argentine folk music.

Ruth Watson Henderson, born 1932 in Ontario, Canada, began her career as a concert pianist.In the 1950s she performed with symphony orchestras throughout Canada, but later transitioned to become a choral accompanist.With this transition, Henderson discovered her gift for composing choral music.Today, Henderson continues to compose music for both adult and childrens’ choirs, and choral music makes up the majority of her body of work.

Julian Wachner’s Six Rilke Songs are based on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, a Bohemian poet born in Prague in 1875.Rilke was an avid traveler and drew inspiration from his travels to write vivid, lyrical, and “mystical” poetry.In these six poems, Rilke paints detailed emotional scenes of different animals, some familiar and some foreign to his own native land.Listen as Wachner’s music and Rilke’s text work together to make these animals come to life.

Morten Lauridsen’s Chansons des Roses are also based on the poetry of Rilke.As in the animal poems, the poetry is filled with beautiful descriptive words, but the mood here is introspective and deeply emotional.The French language and Lauridsen’s gorgeous harmonies together highlight the softer side of Rilke, and stand as an interesting comparison to Wachner’s set of Rilke songs.

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