Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The ASO on GPB, July 10 & 13

Dozens of extra brass players join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for this sonically spectacular concert. ASO principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles leads the massed musicians in a program pairing the Sinfonietta by Janacek - a celebration of life - with Berlioz's Requiem, which sets to music the Catholic mass for the dead.

Bookending Leos Janacek's Sinfonietta is a patriotic fanfare he wrote for an athletic event, a Czech gymnastics festival, in 1926. The piece calls for 14 trumpets, for starters. In Atlanta's Symphony Hall, the brass stood on the choral risers, highly visible and highly audible. (At right: ASO principal trumpet Tom Hooten.)

This concert was recorded in early May. For the second half, the venerable ASO Chorus takes to the risers for the Requiem by Hector Berlioz. This Atlanta performance served as a warm-up for a transatlantic trip two weeks later, in which the ASO Chorus and Donald Runnicles repeated the piece in Berlin, with the storied Berlin Philharmonic. The tenor soloist in the celestial "Sanctus" section, in Atlanta and Berlin, was Joseph Kaiser (right). And let's credit the director of the ASO Chorus too, though he wasn't on stage: Norman Mackenzie.

Also on this broadcast, Donald Runnicles chats about tonight's music and about his two new posts in Europe as of 2009, as conductor of both the BBC Scottish Symphony and the German Opera Berlin.

Join host Sarah Zaslaw for The ASO on GPB, Thursday, July 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 13 at 10 p.m. on most GPB radio stations and gpb.org.

(Next week: Donald Runnicles again leads the Atlanta Symphony in a pair of third symphonies: Henryk Gorecki's "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" and Brahms' Symphony No. 3.)

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