The Stockton Symphony Opens Its Second Classics Concert with TRAIL OF TEARS, 11/16
(STOCKTON, CA)-The Stockton Symphony opens its second Classics concert of the season with two beautiful examples of French symphonic repertoire: Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin," and Bizet's "Symphony in C Major," juxtaposed with a very recent flute concerto, "Trail of Tears," by American composer Michael Daugherty. The vivid contrast makes for an extremely intriguing and satisfying evening.
Daugherty's piece, completed in 2010, is an emotionally charged composition, illustrating the five- month forced migration in the 1830s of 15,000 Cherokee men, women and children from Tennessee. From November 1838 to March 1839, the Cherokee, with scant clothing and many without shoes were forced to make an 800-mile march for relocation in Oklahoma during the bitter cold of winter. Suffering from exposure, disease, and starvation, nearly 4,000 Cherokee died during the five-month march known as the "Trail of Tears."
Michael Daugherty describes his concerto as 'a musical journey into how the human spirit discovers ways to deal with upheaval, adversity and adapting to a new environment. The first two movements of the concerto are played without pause. The first movement reflects on meaningful memories of things past, inspired by a quotation from the Native American leader Geronimo (1829-1909): "I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun." The end of the first movement becomes a death march, marked "Trail of Tears," and concludes with a turbulent instrumental coda. The reflective second movement, entitled "incantation," meditates on the passing of loved ones and the hope for a better life in the world beyond. The third and final movement, "sun dance," evokes the most spectacular and important religious dance ceremony of the Plains Indians of 19th-century North America. Banned on Indian reservations for a century by the U.S. government, the dance is practiced again today. I have composed my own fiery musical dance to suggest how reconnecting with rituals of the past might create a path to a new and brighter future.'
The hauntingly beautiful sounds of the soloist's flute are heavily inspired by the sounds of native flutes and flute songs, and the resulting blend of sounds and influences is quite compelling.