James Conlon Conducts at 2014 Spring For Music Festival at Carnegie Hall Tonight
James Conlon, Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979, conducts the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tonight, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium during the fourth and final installment of the Spring For Music festival. The centerpiece of the Carnegie Hall program is the New York premiere of The Ordering of Moses, a work by Robert Nathaniel Dett that received its world premiere at the 1937 May Festival, performed by a chorus of 350 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra led by Eugene Goosens. Mr. Conlon will open the program with John Adams' Harmonium.
Tickets priced from $12.50 to $25 are available online at www.carnegiehall.org, by phone from CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800, or in person at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue. For more information about Spring For Music, visit www.springformusic.com.
The Ordering of Moses is an oratorio that weaves the story of Moses leading the Jews to freedom with African-American spirituals and is one of Mr. Dett's most praised choral works. The 1937 world premiere performance was broadcast live nationwide via NBC radio, in what was likely the first network classical music broadcast of a major work by a black composer, although only about three-quarters of the work was heard. Near the end of the broadcast the announcer apologized and interrupted the music due to "previous commitments." However, it has been suggested that the program was abruptly ended due to objections of the work because of Mr. Dett's heritage. Despite the obstacles and limited options of the time, Mr. Dett became one of the most successful black composers, known for combining folk songs and spirituals with music of the European Romantic style.
Harmonium is a 20th-century American work for chorus and orchestra by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams. Exploring themes of love, death, and the intensity of sexual longing and ecstasy, Harmonium comprises three movements that are settings of complete poems by Emily Dickenson and John Donne, and is considered a key composition in Mr. Adams' minimalist period.