American Composers Orchestra

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Program notes for this concert

Essay

From Scene to Shining Screen: A Short History of Film Music

Essay

Paul Chihara went Hollywood (and Carnegie Hall, too)

Essays

David Raksin Remembers his Colleagues

 

Sunday, April 22, 2001
3pm, Carnegie Hall

20th Century Snapshots - A Millennium CelebrationHollywood

BERNARD HERRMANN: Psycho Suite
DAVID RAKSIN: The Bad and the Beautiful
IGOR STRAVINSKY: Four Norwegain Moods
MIKLOS ROZSA: Spellbound Concerto
DMITRI TIOMKIN: The Thing
PAUL CHIHARA: Clouds (from out of the past)
  world premiere, ACO commission

Tickets are $46, $35 & $16. Call CarnegieCharge: 212-247-7800

The concert is preceded by a discussion, free to ticket-holders, at 1:45pm.


American Composers Orchestra brings "Hollywood" to Carnegie Hall
Sunday, April 22 at 3pm

Performances, Screenings, and talks also planned at the American Museum of the Moving Image and Joe's Pub

ACO's Carnegie Hall season concludes on Sunday, April 22, 2001 at 3pm with "Hollywood," a salute to that city of icons, and to some of the foremost composers for film, including Bernard Herrmann, David Raksin, Miklós Rózsa, Dmitri Tiomkin, Paul Chihara, along with Hollywood resident Igor Stravinsky.

Hollywood"Hollywood" features Psycho by Bernard Herrmann, one of Hollywood's most distinguished composers, who wrote over forty scores for top directors during his career. Born in New York in 1911, Herrmann began his career there as a composer and conductor, forming a long association with the CBS Symphony. His score for Orson Welles's radio play, The War of the Worlds, brought him to Hollywood to score Citizen Kane. From this first score to his last, for Taxi Driver, his works for film (Fahrenheit 451, North by Northwest, Obsession) evoke psychological nuance and dramatic tension. The music from Psycho written for strings alone, mirrors the film's black and white image.

The program pairs David Raksin, a prolific film composer, and Igor Stravinsky, whose compositions for Hollywood films ultimately resulted in works for the concert stage. Raksin's output includes music for 300 television shows and over 100 films. Raksin's featured work, The Bad and the Beautiful, as well as his most recorded work, Laura, reflect his origins in show music and jazz. After graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Raksin went to New York to work as a singer, musician and arranger. His arrangement of I Got Rhythm brought him to the attention of George Gershwin, and he worked steadily at Harms/Chappell until moving to Hollywood to assist Charlie Chaplin in scoring Modern Times. In addition to drawing from the full musical spectrum for his film scoring, Raksin orchestrated Stravinsky's Circus Polka for George Balanchine's choreography for dancing elephants.

Stravinsky immigrated to California in 1940, and like his fellow Californian, Arnold Schoenberg, was interested in film. Both composers were unsuccessful in the medium and probably temperamentally unsuited for it. Stravinsky's Four Norwegian Moods was originally written for a film about resistance to the Nazi invasion of Norway, a project that was never completed. The work is based on a collection of Norwegian folk music Stravinsky found in a secondhand bookstore in Los Angeles, including three tunes arranged by Grieg.

Rózsa and Tiomkin are among the most successful of the breed of film composers who were born and educated abroad and drew upon European folk idioms and symphonic forms in their music. Rózsa, born in Budapest in 1907 and educated at the Leipzig Conservatory, lived in Paris and London where he enjoyed a successful career writing music for director Sir Alexander Korda. Rózsa moved to Hollywood in 1940, receiving three Academy Awards for his film scores including one for the Hitchcock film Spellbound, which Rózsa later reworked into a piano concerto, which ACO performs with pianist Scott Dunn.

Tiomkin's score for the cult classic The Thing displayed his talent for orchestration and earned him one of his 23 nominations and four Academy awards, including two for High Noon for best score and best song (one of many top-ten singles). Born in St. Petersburg, he studied with Glazunov and earned degrees in law and music. A touring concert pianist, he introduced the works of Gershwin to Europe and moved to the U.S. in 1925. His early works were ballet scores for his wife's choreography. He began working in film in 1933, often with Frank Capra, and remained active in the movies until 1970.

Paul Chihara is of the newer generation of Hollywood composers, whose work in the concert hall has garnered equal acclaim to that on the silver screen. Among Chihara's credits are such films as Prince of the City, Crossing Delancey, and The Morning After, as well as the ABC-TV series China Beach. He has been commissioned to write works for the Cleveland String Quartet, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New Japan Philharmonic. Chihara is currently Professor of Composition at UCLA, where he teaches film scoring, serves as Music Supervisor at Buena Vista Studios, and is writing music for the newly acclaimed A&E series, 100 Centre Street.

This concert marks the conclusion of ACO's three-year "20th Century Snapshots" Millennium survey. The concerts "bring together significant ideas of the 20th Century, with new music that points the way for the 21st," according to music director Dennis Russell Davies. The performances in this series spanned a century in which American music began to have worldwide impact, and during which American composers developed new techniques and a unique, identifiable, and powerful synthesis of cultures in their music.

"Hidden Hollywood" & Screenings at the AMMI

Film ReelLeading up to the April 22nd concert, the American Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens will host several events focusing on the film composer's art. This "Hollywood" celebration includes three weekends of talks and screenings, with composers Philip Glass on April 7 (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Kundun), film historian Royal Brown on April 8 (Vertigo, Spellbound), composer Carter Burwell and sound designer Skip Lievsay on April 15 (Barton Fink), Paul Chihara on April 15, and David Raksin on April 21 (Laura & The Bad and The Beautiful).

On April 14 at 2:00 pm, the American Museum of the Moving Image will host a performance, featuring clarinetist Derek Bermel, and the ACO String Quartet. Entitled Hidden Hollywood, the program will feature chamber music by some of film's most noted composers. Included is David Raksin's recent work, Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet, Miklós Rózsa's String Quartet No. 1, Bernard Herrmann's Echoes, and adapted from the second movement for his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, John Corigliano's Soliloquy. Each of the works on the program represents important output by prominent Hollywood composers, yet these works were not written for the screen.

David Raksin: Hollywood Cabaret at Joe's Pub

Joe's Pub at the Public Theater will host the ACO's final Composers Out Front performance of the season on Thursday, April 19 at 8:30 pm. One of Hollywood's grand old men, David Raksin, will give a Hollywood Cabaret featuring his new work Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet for clarinet and string quartet, combined with his reminiscences about the Hollywood heydays. Guest artists include pianist Francis Thorne, who will accompany Mr. Raksin in a rendition of his most famous tune, Laura.

Tickets & Information:

Tickets for the April 22, 2001 concert at Carnegie Hall are $46, $35, and $16. Tickets may be purchased through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, by visiting Carnegie Hall's website at www.carnegiehall.org, or at the Carnegie Hall box office, 57th Street at 7th Ave. The concert is preceded by a discussion with the composers, free to ticket-holders, at 1:45pm.

The screenings at American Museum of the Moving Image are free with museum admission. Tickets to the April 14th performance are $12 (includes Museum admission), and are available the day of the performance at the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Seating for all events in the "Composers Out Front" series at Joe's Pub is limited. Tickets are $20 and are available from TeleCharge at 212 239 6200 or www.telecharge.com. Tickets can also be purchased at The Public Theater box office from 1pm - 7pm daily. Joe's Pub and The Public Theater are located at 425 Lafayette Street, in lower Manhattan.

About ACO

Founded in 1977, the American Composers Orchestra is the world's only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing symphonic works by American composers. Through its concerts at Carnegie Hall, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, Whitaker New Music Reading sessions, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers, champions this country's prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases international awareness of the infinite varieties-stylistic, geographic, and ethnic-of American orchestral music. Since its founding, the Orchestra has programmed nearly 500 works by more than 400 American composers, including over 100 world premieres and commissions, generating more new American Symphonic works than any other orchestra. Recordings by ACO are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, and New World Records. Further information about ACO is available by calling 212-977-8495 or on the Web at: www.americancomposers.org

Major support of the American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., Americans for the Arts, Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Mr. Thomas Buckner, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Citigroup Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Christian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, Meet The Composer, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, J.P. Morgan & Co., New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Times Co. Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


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