Monday, May 26, 2008

The ASO on GPB, May 29 & June 1

Guest conductor and composer Oliver Knussen leads the Atlanta Symphony in two colorful pieces for children. First up is Ravel's Mother Goose ballet. Then comes the main work, Knussen's own opera Where the Wild Things Are, based on Maurice Sendak's award-winning 1963 book. Soprano Barbara Hannigan stars as the mischievous boy Max; Lucy Shelton is the mother who sends him to bed wthout his supper; and the men of Hudson Shad play the parts of the monstery Wild Things whom Max tames.

In our backstage interview, Knussen talks about how he and Sendak expanded the story into a 40-minute opera, and what language the Wild Things are muttering in (hint: they represent Sendak's relatives), and how the great orchestrators of the turn of the last century inspired his music.

To round out the broadcast, we'll sample the ASO's latest commercial release, A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, with soprano Twyla Robinson and tenor Mariusz Kwiecin as soloists and music director Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. It was recorded last fall, the same weekend as the concert performance heard previously on GPB, and it's just out from Telarc.

(Next week on GPB, June 5 and 8, Roberto Minczuk returns to lead the ASO in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Cecylia Arzewski performs Khatchaturian's Violin Concerto in her final solo appearance as concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony.)

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