Release (2003/10/08)

About the Concert

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 at 8pm
Carnegie Hall

“Different Trains”

Steven Sloane, conductor
James Stubbs, trumpet

JOHN ADAMS: Christian Zeal and Activity
ANNA WEESNER: Still Things Move (New York Premiere)
IRVING FINE: Serious Song: A Lament for String Orchestra
ALAN HOVHANESS: The Holy City, op. 218
STEVE REICH: Different Trains (Version for String Orchestra and pre-recorded tape) (New York Premiere)

Tickets are $15, $34, & $42. Call CarnegieCharge: 212-247-7800

Pre-concert discussion, moderated by ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser, is free to all ticket holders and begins at 7:00 pm.

“Different Trains” Arrive at Carnegie Hall for ACO Season Opener October 8
Steve Reich’s Different Trains in NY premiere. Musical departures by Charles Wuorinen, Anna Weesner, John Adams, Irving Fine & Alan Hovhaness.

ACO’s season opens on Wednesday, October 8, 2003 at 8pm at Carnegie Hall, with a program that features the long-awaited New York premiere of Steve Reich’s Different Trains, an evocative musical landscape for string orchestra and pre-recorded tape. Also on the program is the New York premiere of Anna Weesner’s Still Things Move, works by John Adams and Charles Wuorinen, as well as Irving Fine’s rarely performed Serious Song: Lament for String Orchestra and Alan Hovhaness’ haunting The Holy City.
The concert offers a dramatic, intimate, and diverse musical experience exploring the emotional range of music for string instruments—alone, with other instruments, and with electronic tape—with sonorities ranging from mystical to gritty to somber, and rhythms from minimalist to mechanical and dance-inspired. The program also contrasts music by some of today’s leading composers, from the prototype minimalist Steve Reich to serialist stalwart Charles Wuorinen.

Steve Reich’s Different Trains

Steve Reich’s Different Trains was originally scored for string quartet and performed by the Kronos Quartet in 1988. The piece builds upon the composer’s technique of using recorded speech to generate musical material for the instrumental parts. The idea for Different Trains is drawn from the composer’s childhood, when he traversed the country by train, traveling between Los Angeles and New York to visit his parents during the years 1939 – 1942. In reflection, these train trips are contrasted with the very different trains that were bringing Jews in Europe to concentration camps during that time.

The music is for string orchestra, without double basses, and electronic tape with which the composer recorded sounds of trains from the 1930’s and 40’s, interviews with holocaust survivors, and a retired train Pullman porter. In a process Reich continues to use in his music, the rhythms and inflections of the recorded speech form the basis for the recurring motives played by the strings.

Anna Weesner’s Still Things Move in NY Premiere

Anna Weesner’s Still Things Move plays on the double entendre of the word “still” in the title, suggesting both that something fixed is brought into motion and that in spite of stillness, things do move. The work is in three continuous movements, subtitled “Wish,” “Sport,” and “History.” Anna Weesner studied at Yale and Cornell and now teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the 2003 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, as well an ASCAP young composer award, with residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Wellesley Composers Conference. Her music has been performed by Dawn Upshaw, Richard Goode, the Cassatt Quartet, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001, among others.

Music by John Adams and Charles Wuorinen

Opening the concert is Christian Zeal and Activity, an early work by John Adams. Scored for orchestra and electronic tape, the composer calls the piece a “mixture of the serene, almost stationary homophonies of the hymn, contrasted with the gritty, active sound of the human voice… a subconscious reenactment of the scenario of Ives’ Unanswered Question.”

Charles Wuorinen’s Grand Bamboula is a string orchestra piece dating from 1970. One of four works by Wuorinen carrying the title “Bamboula,” these pieces owe their titles to composer/pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk, who appropriated the moniker from a Creole dance. In keeping with its inspiration, Wuorinen’s Grand Bamboula is energetic, extroverted, and celebratory, with a harmonic and technical rigor that have justifiably earned Wuorinen the reputation as one of America’s most influential thinkers and uncompromising musical practitioners.

Serious Strings Plus: Irving Fine and Alan Hovhaness

Irving Fine was a close colleague of Aaron Copland, who said that Fine’s music “wins us over through its keenly conceived sonorities and its fully expressive content… elegance, style, finish, and a convincing continuity.” Though his music is not often performed, Fine is a composer’s composer, with a small output that reveals him to be a perfectionist. Fine’s Serious Song: Lament for String Orchestra dates from 1955—an austere and pristine long-lined work with a taught harmonic sense and a lyric romantic tinge.

Alan Hovhaness was an enigmatic composer with a taste for exotic influences and a mystical orientation. The Holy City, like many of this composer’s best works, is hauntingly simple. Scored for trumpet, harp, and strings in multiple divisions, the nine-minute work will feature ACO co-principal trumpet James Stubbs.

About Steven Sloane, Music Director

Steven Sloane is one of the most adventurous and innovative conductors to have emerged in recent years. Through his work with orchestras, festivals, choruses, and opera companies across Europe and in America, Mr. Sloane has won acclaim for his compelling programming, theatrical flair, and impressive technique. His passion for unusual repertoire, interest in eclectic juxtapositions of music of divergent eras and styles, commitment to contemporary works, and willingness to challenge convention have established Mr. Sloane as a bold champion of the future of concert music. [find out more…]

About ACO

Founded in 1977, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. [find out more…]

Tickets and Information

“Different Trains” is October 8, 2003 at 8pm in Carnegie Hall. Tickets are $15, $34, and $42 and may be purchased through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, by visiting Carnegie Hall’s website at, or at the Carnegie Hall box office on 57th Street at 7th Ave. The concert is preceded by a discussion (free to ticket-holders) with the living composers featured on the program, moderated by ACO’s Artistic Director Robert Beaser, at 7:00pm.

Major support of American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., Amphion Foundation, ASCAP, The Bagby Foundation for the Musical Arts, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Bodman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, BMI Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Citigroup Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Consolidated Edison, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Estate of Francis Goelet, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Hauser Foundation, Henfield Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Geoffrey Hughes Foundation, Christian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, The Jerome Foundation, Helen Sperry Lea Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, Meet the Composer, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JPMorganChase, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Foundation, The New York Times Co. Foundation, Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Oakleigh L. Thorne 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.