ORCHESTRA UNDERGROUND: Contempo-Scary Music
Zankel Hall @ Carnegie Hall
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:30 PM
George Manahan, music director & conductor
Nancy Allen Lundy, narrator and soprano
Maxwell Tfirn, electronics engineer
BERNARD HERRMANN: Psycho Suite
JUDITH SHATIN: Black Moon for Orchestra and Conductor Controlled Electronics
(World Premiere – ACO/Carnegie Hall Commission)
PAUL MORAVEC: The Overlook Hotel Suite from “The Shining”
(World Premiere – ACO commission)
This concert opens ACO’s 40th Anniversary Season and celebrates Halloween with music inspired by all things sinister and suspenseful, including the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s Overlook Hotel Suite, an orchestral suite which takes musical material from The Shining, Moravec’s opera based on the Stephen King novel; Bernard Hermann’s Psycho Suite from the film score to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller; the world premiere of Judith Shatin’s Black Moon (the most auspicious phase of the moon for casting spells) for orchestra and conductor-controlled electronics, which was developed through ACO’s coLABoratory “R&D” program; and David del Tredici’s Dracula, a setting of the vampire tale as told in Alfred Corn’s poem “My Neighbor, the Distinguished Count,” featuring soprano-narrator Nancy Allen Lundy.
“Paul Moravec’s music sets the tone from the first moments. It’s a rich, multi-layered soundscape that breathes life into the Overlook Hotel, which is both the setting and the villain of the piece.” ~Minnesota Public Radio
10/26/16: Opera in New York Gets Spooky: Halloween offers a (super)natural opportunity for companies to engage new audiences, The Wall Street Journal [article] 10/25/16: Dracula’s Neighbour: An Interview with Nancy Allen Lundy, Schmopera blog [article] October 2016: Goings On About Town: American Composers Orchestra “Contempo-Scary,” The New Yorker [listing]
(click on images for full slideshow)
Photo Credit: Fadi Kheir
A little sketch of what’s in store:
Those of us of a certain age remember when audiences often viewed any new music as a scary prospect—and composers, for their part, relished their reputations as “mad scientists” creating unforgivingly cerebral works. That began to change in the 1970s, in large part due to the music of David Del Tredici, who helped reintroduce expressive lyricism and emotion, ushering in what we now call Neo-Romanticism. David, also famously loves a good story (as his long fascination with Alice in Wonderland attests). So tonight we draw from that delicious vein in Dracula, with the remarkable Nancy Allen Lundy as our soloist. (watch video)
With a bestselling book and hit movie, Stephen King’s The Shining is among the most well-known of contemporary tales of horror. To these, thanks to composer Paul Moravec, we can now add a new critically-acclaimed opera that premiered in a sold-out run by Minnesota Opera this past May. For tonight’s program, we asked Paul to create an orchestral suite drawn from his opera. He took the challenge up, creating a piece that uses the instruments of the orchestra to provide a musical depiction of the Overlook—the infamous hotel at the center of the story’s gory plot. (watch video | read Composer Portrait)
The Black Moon—the second new moon of the month—is a rare event filled with mystical power and ripe for spells and rituals. Judith Shatin explores this in our other world premiere this evening. Judith specializes in the integration of electronics and acoustics—creating powerful and otherworldly sonic landscapes. For this piece, she introduces conductor-controlled electronics (utilizing the Kinect sensor “borrowed” from the Xbox video gaming system), that allow the conductor to shape the electronics in real-time to follow his gestures and merge with the ensemble. Black Moon was developed through ACO’s coLABoratory program, which provided the opportunity to workshop the piece with the orchestra last season. (watch video | read Composer Portrait)
And opening our program is Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant suite from Hitchcock’s Psycho. An utterly perfect—and utterly disturbing—piece of Hollywood and musical history.
With so much new music being written for the orchestra by so many composers of divergent backgrounds these days, we like to think that every ACO concert has the spirit of “trick or treat” in it.
40th Anniversary press release can be found here