HUGO WOLF / GÉRARD GRISEY Wolf Songs (1997) for voice and ensemble +US premiere
SANG SONG - Scars (2017) for ensemble *world premiere
BÉLA BARTÓK - Romanian Folk Dances (1915) for violin and piano
DU YUN - When a Tiger Meets a Rosa Rugosa (2013) for violin and piano
TAYLOR BROOK - Arrhythmia (new version 2017) *world premiere
Sharon Harms, soprano
Ken Hamao, violin
Euntaek Kim, piano
with the Argento Ensemble under Michel Galante
At the end of his life, Gérard Grisey, an iconic figure in modern music, turned his attention to the dark and mystical songs of Hugo Wolf. Argento’s final concert of 2017 highlights works by composers inspired by previous musical compositions, transforming them into new works that are a reflection of their time, that reveal their own compositional voice. Alongside three exciting works by New York composers Sang Song, Du Yun and Taylor Brook, Argento will be joined by soprano Sharon Harms in Wolf Songs by Gérard Grisey, the iconic spectral French avant-garde composer who found in his penultimate work an unlikely source of inspiration in the 19th-century Austro-Slovene composer Hugo Wolf. Grisey orchestrates four of Hugo Wolf’s expressionistic lieder with forbidding texts of Eduard Mörike, creating four dark meditations on religion, nature, and time.
Two Asian American composers will be featured in this program. Argento will perform the world premiere of Korean American composer Sang Song’s Scars, a work that highlights the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome that includes the experience of mourning, embodied by tragic musical quotations from Verdi’s Otello. For portions of this work, the audience will have the option of hearing processed sounds through headphones distributed at the performance. In her duet for violin and piano, When a Tiger Meets a Rosa Rugosa,” Pulitzer Prize winning Chinese American composer Du Yun transforms the poem “In me, past, present, future meet” by the war-damaged British poet Siegfried into a wordless vocalise.
Early in the 20th century, Hungarian composer Béla Bartók devotedly traveled to remote villages of Transylvania to make the first outdoor field recordings of folk music, which he admired for its robust expressive power. Using seven of these recordings, Bartok composed his Romanian Folk Dances, presenting them to audiences within a classical concert framework that adds many levels of nuance and color to the original songs. Audience will hear the original field recordings before Argento's performance of Bartok’s concert settings of these vernacular discoveries.
The program ends with Taylor Brook’s Arrhythmia, a musical re-imagining of the first movement of Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Brook asked himself what Mahler would have done if he were to write this piece today, and wrote a microtonal string quartet of which James Oestreich of the New York Times calls “gripping from the outset and engrossing throughout.” Argento will give the premiere performance of this quartet in an expanded version scored with percussion.