Seems like we'be been waiting all month for the Minnesota Orchestra to open its season. Oh yeah, we have been.
Well, the wait ends Thursday night (Sept. 29), with Osmo Vanska conducting a program that includes a world premiere Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra by composer Stephen Paulus and his son, Greg, a jazz musician.
That piece was written about in the Sunday Star Tribune by Graydon Royce. Read the story here.
Also on the season-opening program is John Adams' "Fearful Symmetries," a slab of minimalist rock that was first performed in 1988. It calls for most of the usual orchestral intstruments as well a synthesizer and sampled percussion sounds.
Can't wait to watch the reaction as season ticket-holders encounter this loud, fast piece that Adams called "a Pantagruel boogie with a thrusting, grinding beat." Will some cover their ears, as they did upon hearing Adams' "Harmonielehre" a few seasons back?
Adams describes "Fearful Symmetries" on his website, saying that it somewhat resembles the music in his opera "Nixon in China":
The music is, as its title suggests, almost maddeningly symmetrical. Four- and eight-bar phrases line up end to end, each articulated by blazingly obvious harmonic changes and an insistent chugging pulse. The familial resemblance to the opening minutes of The Chairman Dances is unmistakable, but in Fearful Symmetries the gestures are more emphatic and the music is more closely allied to pop and Minimalist rock. It’s clearly an example of what I call my "travelling music," music that gives the impression of continuous movement over a shifting landscape. In this piece, however, a cityscape is doubtless the more appropriate analogy as the sound has a distinctly urban feel.
This rapidly pulsing and rocking work, which Adams calls "seriously aerobic," has been used by more than a dozen different choreographers. Here's a clip from 2009 that shows Pennsylvania Ballet doing excerpts from a ballet by Peter Martins set to "Fearful Symmetries.".