August 23, 2013

2013–14 Season: Gaelen McCormick Recommends

"The Appalachian Spring concert is one I'm very excited about.

"That concert will be the first time for me playing Barber's School for Scandal Overture, which is something I heard on a Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast back in high school. The orchestration struck me as very different from the Beethoven symphony my youth orchestra had been working on, and seemed like a challenge. It'll be fun learning it now.

"Appalachian Spring is something that I love more every time I perform it. Growing up, there was something about Copland's way of writing that bothered me; I think it's the very openness of his writing, with the voices spread out, that gave me the odd sense of loneliness. But as I traveled our country in my 20s, I've seen how the prairie/Midwest looks and feels, and now the music sounds more like the expansive plains (or big sky if you're thinking Montana). While I was an undergrad at Eastman, I regularly took modern dance classes at the U of R. We watched many videos of seminal 20th century choreographers, like Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, and of course Martha Graham. Watching the dancers execute her vision of Appalachian Spring really sharpens the angular nature of Copland's writing.

"Piazzolla's Four Seasons is going to be hot! Juliana is an incredible musician, and Astor Piazzolla gives so much emotional material to work with in the seasons. I was lucky to perform a string quintet arrangement of these a few years ago, and the music is full of sweeping drama, and moments of gritty abrasive harmonies. He really tells the story of love and life in a large city (Buenos Aires). Tango is something that is near and dear to me--I met my husband taking tango lessons a few years ago!"
--Gaelen McCormick, Bass

Appalachian Spring
Oct. 24 and 26; Larry Rachleff, guest conductor; Juliana Athayde, violin

BARBER  Overture to The School for Scandal
COPLAND  Appalachian Spring Suite
PIAZZOLLA  The Four Seasons
FALLA  Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 2

Watch a clip from the ballet Martha Graham choreographed to Copland's Appalachian Spring:

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