GPB's broadcast starts in the cold forests of Scandinavia. Tapiola is Jean Sibelius's picture of the home of the god of the forests, according to Finnish mythology. (The god is Tapio. His dwelling place is Tapiola. It's pronounced TAH-pyoh-lah, as Robert Spano demonstrates to host Sarah Zaslaw. Spano's mother is Finnish, so though he doesn't speak the language he knows more about it than the average conductor on the street.)
The ASO Chorus then comes on stage for The Here and Now - composer Christopher Theofanidis's settings of verses by the 13th century mystic poet Jallaladin Rumi. The ASO premiered The Here and Now, which Robert Spano had commissioned, in Atlanta in 2005 and recorded it for an acclaimed Telarc CD. (To see Spano and Theofanidis talk about the project then, click on the link partway down this page.) In 2008 they revived it for this late-March concert and its early-April New York premiere.
The English translations in The Here and Now are by former UGA professor Coleman Barks. Theofanidis picks such verses of Rumi's as
- "Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now," and
- "World power means nothing. Only the unsayable, jeweled inner life matters," and
- "The way you make love is the way God will be with you," and
- "God picks up the reed-flute world and blows. Each note is a need coming through one of us, a passion, a longing pain. Let your note be clear. Don't try to end it. Be your note. Let everyone climb on their roofs and sing their notes! Sing loud!"
The ASO on GPB airs on GPB radio stations and at gpb.org. Join Sarah Zaslaw this Thursday, June 26 at 8 p.m. and again Sunday, June 29 at 10 p.m.