Friday, February 17, 2006

Sofia Gubaidulina, Simon Rattle, The Philadelphia Orchestra, And The New Verizon Concert Hall Together Make Music History

"You never know quite what you're going to get when you order up a new piece of music. You might end up with something the public loves, as was the case with Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra. You could send the composer back to the drawing board (or just for some refinements), as the Philadelphia Orchestra did recently in postponing Bright Sheng's Zodiac Tales.

And every once in a while, if you're an orchestra that commissions often enough, you find yourself playing a role in the birth of an important piece of art, as was the case Wednesday night when the Philadelphians and Simon Rattle premiered Sofia Gubaidulina's Feast During a Plague.

Gubaidulina's 25-minute work - co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with help from the Pew Charitable Trusts - is proof that great ideas transcend issues of style....

What, then, was the 74-year-old Russian-born composer Gubaidulina trying to say? Her answer is in notes to the score - whose core idea, unfortunately, is barely hinted at in program notes. Gubaidulina's plague is "the lowering of the moral level of society and the buildup of hatred in our souls." Her feast is the "fact that a large segment of people want nothing more than to feast and make merry." ...

Gubaidulina writes that it is not the artist's job to judge, just to create a realistic view. "If there is one, there is hope," she says. Regeneration has rarely been given so vivid a musical casting...."

Peter Dobrin ""Feast" was a rich bounty for the ears, indeed" Philadelphia Inquirer February 17, 2006 via

Detail from "Carnaval en Vasten" by Hieroymus Bosch - Catarijneconvent Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Image credit: W. Wertelecki, M.D. © 2006 All rights reserved. With thanks.

GOALS of Pandora Word Box:

Expose the roots of ideas in words with an emphasis on Health, Medicine, Medical Humanities, Ethics and Bioethics.

Replace memorization with an emphasis on Mythology, Poetry, History and Visual Fine Arts.

Also please see the IBIS (International Birth-Defects Information System) and its Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program.


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