Recording of Robert Spano Compositions Releasing 4/28
Conductor, composer, and pianist Robert Spano releases a new recording on the ASO Media label of two of his own compositions on April 28, 2017 on CD and digital platforms. The album, rooted in the philosophical and divine nature of creativity, consists of the Hölderlin-Lieder song cycle (2013), based on the poetry of 18th century German poet Friedrich Hölderlin. Mr. Spano wrote the cycle for longtime colleague and collaborator, soprano Jessica Rivera, who performs the cycle on this recording. Mr. Spano writes, "The imagery of the poems sparked in me musical correspondences that I attempted to express through a late-nineteenth-century musical vocabulary, in homage to the masters of the intimate and exquisite form of lieder. I wrote them for soprano Jessica Rivera, whose beautiful voice and rich artistry were my muse in the process."
Following the song cycle is a piano sonata which Mr. Spano himself performs. Composed in 2016, Sonata: Four Elements, is a play on the typical four movements found in sonata form, with each movement's referring to one of the elements of nature: earth songs, air born, under water, and on fire. "These classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire have a rich history of associative meaning. Thinkers as ancient as Thales and Heraclitus, and as recent as Carl Jung, have been fascinated by the multi-layered symbolism inherent in these seed ideas. They are also key concepts in the western esoteric traditions, appearing in astrology, tarot cards, the qabalistic tree of life, and any variety of magical arts," states Mr. Spano. "I was inspired to capture something of the unique and complex qualities of each element, yet also to connect them, as they are dynamically related to each other."
2. Sokrates und Alcibiades
3. An die Parzen
Jessica Rivera, soprano
Robert Spano, piano
Sonata: Four Elements (2016)
4. earth songs
5. air born
6. under water
7. on fire
Robert Spano, piano
Live audiences have the opportunity to hear the Hölderlin-Lieder song cycle with Ms. Rivera during the SHIFT Festival, a co-presentation between the Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts, which highlights North American orchestras in a week-long celebration including performances, mini-residencies, educational events, panels, and community engagement. On March 30, Mr. Spano joins the vocal soloists - which also include Sasha Cooke, Thomas Cooley, Nmon Ford, Evan Boyer, and Steven Cole - as collaborative pianist, to perform the Hölderlin-Lieder in addition to works by Britten, Poulenc, Porter, and Gershwin.
On March 31, Mr. Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, leads the ASO in the oratorio Creation/Creator by Christopher Theofanidis. This work, commissioned by the ASO, features Mses. Rivera and Cooke and Messrs. Cooley, Ford, and Boyer, with narrations by Steven Cole and Shannon Eubanks, as well as the 180-voice Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and full orchestra. The composer utilizes texts from philosophy, science, religion, poetry, and literature to explore the creative process in the multimedia production, which premiered in 2015 by Spano, the ASO, ASO Chorus, and soloists. Collaborating artists include Daniel Arsham and James Alexander, who created stage environment installations with a focus on light and texture, with color schemes evolving to fit the work's movements. Christopher Theofanidis is a member of ASO's Atlanta School of Composers, a select group of composers nurtured and commissioned by the ASO and Mr. Spano over the course of several years.