Monthly Music Recommendation: Summer 2014

By Paul Rosenblum, Managing Director

Paul Rosenblum is very involved in programming and lots of other good stuff at Caramoor.

György Ligeti:
Concert Românesc (1951)

This little known, short work opened the Caramoor Festival on Saturday, June 21. Previously unknown to me, it was suggested for this program by Cristian Macelaru, the conductor of the concert. In four brief movements (duration 12 minutes) the composer uses folk music to create a sense of place – in this case Transylvania, his birthplace. Ligeti, who achieved fame as the composer of such works as Atmosphères, (hyper-famous as the sound track for the stargate sequence in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey) and Lontano, as well as his one opera, Le Grande Macabre, was a student of Zoltan Kodály, who, like Bartok, made copious field recordings of the folk music of Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century. Unlike his later works, written in much more complex idioms, this early composition uses folk or folk-like melodies to evoke field, stream, and village to great effect.

Later in the festival calendar, folk music as the inspiration for classical compositions was encountered on July 6th in Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and on August 3rd, in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, in G. Again the sense of place is evoked soulfully and most effectively, in the first case, Appalachia and in the second, Bohemia.

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