LA PHIL’S "SOUNDS ABOUT TOWN" SERIES PRESENTS JAMES CONLON CONDUCTING LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS AND AMERICAN YOUTH SYMPHONY IN WORLD PREMIERE BY ICELANDIC COMPOSER DANÍEL BJARNASONSunday, March 4, 2012, 7:30 PM
AS PART OF SHAKESPEARE-THEMED PROGRAM
at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Other Featured Works Include Willcocks’ The Glories of Shakespeare and
Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet
The LA Phil’s prestigious Sounds About Town series continues with a Shakespeare-themed program featuring renowned conductor James Conlon conducting two of the country’s leading youth ensembles – the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) and the American Youth Symphony (AYS) – in the world premiere of The isle is full of noises… by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and co-commissioned by LACC and AYS on Sunday, March 4, 2012, 7:30 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The ensembles also perform Sir David Willcocks’ The Glories of Shakespeare, which draws on texts from The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Cymbeline and Two Gentlemen of Verona and alternates between spirited syncopated rhythms and slower, richly harmonic elements. Additionally, the chorus and orchestra each perform separately with LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson conducting a compilation of inventive settings of Shakespearean texts for treble voices, including Benjamin Britten’s Francie and Douglas Beam’s Spirits, and AYS Music Director Alexander Treger conducting a suite from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, described by National Public Radio as “one of the most beautiful scores of the 20th century.”
A pre-concert talk with Bjarnason hosted by Chad Smith, Director of Artistic Planning for the LA Phi, is open to ticket holders at 6:30 pm.
“We are honored to be a part of the esteemed Sounds About Town series and are extremely grateful to Mr. Conlon for conducting this highly anticipated premiere, which is reflective of his deep commitment to mentoring young artists,” says Tomlinson.
Adds Treger, “In what promises to be a diverse and illuminating program, we particularly look forward to presenting a new piece by Daníel Bjarnason, who is considered to be one of the world’s most intriguing composers writing for artists ranging from the London Sinfonietta to the post-rock group Sigur Rós.”
Mirroring the plot of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Bjarnason’s The isle is full of noises… begins with Miranda’s compassionate plea to Prospero, her father – with whom she is stranded on an island along with Caliban, a monster who has taught them how to survive there – to have mercy on the souls sailing by the island on dangerously stormy seas. The choral writing divides the singers into 12 different parts with clustered harmonic chords serving to heighten her concern and despair. It then condenses in scope, drawing into three parts as she speaks of how she would have “sunk the seas within the earth.” The second movement finds a lyric melody artfully representing Caliban’s calming words over a pulsating major seventh chord that reflects the unusual sounds on the island upon which they are marooned. The composer employs glissandi (vocal slides) and humming to highlight the evocative island sounds. The movement ends gently as Caliban reflects upon his dream of gaining riches and his hope “to dream again.” The concluding movement highlights the dramatic words of Prospero’s “all shall dissolve” soliloquy by beginning with gentle harmonies that crescendo into the upper treble range, finally folding into one another to close in a single vocal octave.