Christian Thielemann

Christian Thielemann

Thursday, May 18, 2017

John Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man. Seven Poems of Bob Dylan | Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor – Hila Plitmann, UMS Choral Union, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Friday, May 19, 2017, 08:00 PM EDT (UTC-4) / Saturday, May 20, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3) – Live on Livestream

Hila Plitmann. Photo by Marc Royce
















From its powerful opening passage to the triumphant "Ode to Joy" with full choir (University Musical Society Choral Union), experience Beethoven's iconic Ninth Symphony with Rachelle Durkin (soprano), Abigail Nims (mezzo-soprano), Sean Panikkar (tenor), Peixin Chen (bass) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. The program also presents the first DSO performances of Grammy Award winning American composer John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man, setting original music to seven poems by Bob Dylan and featuring the return of soprano Hila Plitmann (star of David Del Tredici's Final Alice, 2012).

Friday, May 19
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM

Saturday, May 20
London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome: 02:00 AM
Moscow, Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 03:00 AM
Beijing: 08:00 AM
Tokyo: 09:00 AM

Live on Livestream



John Corigliano (b.1938)

♪ Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2003) (DSO premiere)

1. Prelude: Mr. Tambourine Man
2. Clothes Line
3. Blowin' in the Wind
4. Masters of War
5. All Along The Watchtower
6. Chimes of Freedom
7. Postlude: Forever Young

Hila Plitmann, soprano


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 "Choral" (1824)

i. Allegro ma non troppo
ii. Molto vivace
iii. Adagio molto e cantabile
iv. Presto – Allegro assai
v. Recitative – Allegro assai

Rachelle Durkin, soprano
Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano
Sean Panikkar, tenor
Peixin Chen, bass

UMS Choral Union

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Friday, May 19, 2017, 8:00 PM EDT (UTC-4)
Saturday, May 20, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream


Photo by Marc Royce
Grammy award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann is a glittering jewel on the international music scene, known worldwide for her astonishing musicianship, light and beautiful voice, and the ability to perform challenging new works. She regularly premieres works by today's leading composers while maintaining a vibrant and extraordinarily diverse professional life in film music, musical theatre, and song writing.

The Los Angeles Times calls her a performer with "tremendous vocal and physical grace", while Entertainment Today raves, "Plitmann has a vocal instrument that is simply unreal in its beauty". USA Today quotes "Her emotional interpretation of ‘Blowin' in the Wind’ unleashes startling fury and despair". Of her extensive soundtrack work as a soloist for the Hollywood blockbuster The DaVinci Code, CNN says: “Plitmann's glissandi sail above the petty pulpits of earthly doctrine with an ethereal ease that argues for Plitmann's pairing with [Kathleen] Battle or Dawn Upshaw".

When originating the role of Exstasis in Eric Whitacre's groundbreaking electro-musical Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings at the Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena, Hila sang, acted, danced and fought in long martial arts battles nightly for a seven week sold-out run, a tour-de force performance that prompted Backstage West to call her, "brilliant, eliciting strong empathy and singing gorgeously", and Theatre Mania to declare she "fights like a warrior and sings like the angel she portrays". For her work in the show she received nominations for Best Actress in a Musical from the Los Angeles Ovation Awards and The L.A. Ticketholder Awards.

Hila has worked with many of today's leading conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Esa Pekka Salonen, Andrew Litton, Giancarlo Guerrero, Steven Sloane and Carl St Clair. She has appeared as a headliner with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras and ensembles in the United States and abroad.

In constant demand as a singer of new and contemporary music, Hila has been involved in a great many world premieres, including: Paul Revere's Ride with the Atlanta Symphony, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici; Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing on Wing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of the composer; Mr. Tambourine Man written by Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano with the Minnesota Orchestra; the world premiere of Gerard Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, a song cycle written for her by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis; Richard Danielpour's Towards a Season of Peace with Pacific Symphony; and Frank Zappa's orchestral staged version of the 200 Motels with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Additional previous performances to note are and Philip Glass' The Civil WarS with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Grant Gershon conducting); Thomas Adès' The Tempest Suite with the Boston Symphony Orchestra & with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Adès conducting); David Del Tredici's Final Alice with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra (all conducted by Leonard Slatkin). Other collaborations include performances of Salonen's Sappho Songs with the Stockholm Symphony Orchestra (Salonen conducting); Selection of Bernstein and Golijov with the Seattle Symphony (Joana Carneiro conducting); Paola Prestini's Oceanic Verses with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Singers at the Barbican Centre; A selection of Barbara Streisand songs with the Hamburg Symphony (Stuart Barr conducting), and the New York premiere of Eric Whitacre's Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings at Carnegie Hall.

Among future engagements are a recording of Xiaoyang Ye's Symphony No.3, with the Royal Philhamonic Orchestra (José Serebrier conducting); George Benjamin's Into the Little Hill as part of the Mostly Mozart music festival at Lincoln Center (Benjamin conducting); The world premiere of Mark Adamo's Opera Becoming Santa Claus, with the Dallas Opera; Michael Daugherty's Labyrinth of Love with the University of Michigan symphonic band, and the world premiere Paola Prestini's opera Gilgamesh in Boston, as part of the Ouroboros Trilogy Opera Project.

Hila has accumulated an impressive catalogue of professional recordings, appearing on the Decca, Telarc, Naxos, Signum, CRI, Reference Recordings and Disney labels. Some of her latest discography encompasses Richard Danielpour's Toward A Season of Peace (Pacific Symphony) and Corigliano – Conjurer/Vocalise (Albany Symphony), both released to critical acclaim on Naxos; The Ancient Question... A Journey Through Jewish Songs, was released to critical acclaim in December 2012 (Signum Classics); Both David Del Tredici's Paul Revere's Ride (Telarc), and Hans Zimmer's The Da Vinci Code (Decca) received Grammy nominations, and in 2009 Hila won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Performance for her work on the Naxos recording of John Corigliano's song cycle Mr. Tambourine Man with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Hila can also be heard on the soundtrack of the film New York, I Love You, singing a song written by composer Paul Cantelon.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Hila received both her Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees, with high honors, from the Juilliard School of Music, and has been awarded the coveted Sony ES Prize for her outstanding contribution to the vocal arts. She currently lives in London with her husband, composer Eric Whitacre, and their son. She has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Source: hilaplitmann.com


Photo by J. Henry Fair
John Corigliano, (born Feb. 16, 1938, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American composer who drew from eclectic influences to create music that was generally tonal, accessible, and often highly expressive. Corigliano, who composed works for orchestra, solo instruments, and chamber groups, as well as operas, choral works, and film scores, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Symphony No.2 for String Orchestra.

Corigliano's father was concertmaster (1943-1966) of the New York Philharmonic, and his mother was a piano teacher. In his teens he began analyzing the scores of compositions while listening to recordings, and he demonstrated an ability to transpose and harmonize. Corigliano graduated (1959) from Columbia University in New York City and also studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He then worked for radio stations, assisted composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein in the production of his Young People's Concerts, produced recordings, and did orchestrations for pop albums. Corigliano later taught at institutions in New York City, including the Juilliard School (from 1991). In 1991 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1964 Corigliano's first major work, Sonata for Violin and Piano, won the chamber music competition at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. It received its premiere two years later at New York City's Carnegie Hall. Among his other compositions are Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1977); Pied Piper Fantasy (1982), a concerto commissioned by flutist James Galway; Symphony No.1, completed while Corigliano was composer in residence (1987-1990) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the opera The Ghosts of Versailles, which was commissioned by New York's Metropolitan Opera and premiered there in 1991; String Quartet (1995); A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (1999); and Circus Maximus, a symphony for three wind bands that had its premiere at the University of Texas in 2005. The Red Violin, his third film score, won an Academy Award in 2000; a piece based in part on the score, The Red Violin Concerto, was recorded by violinist Joshua Bell and the Baltimore Sympony Orchestra in 2007.

Source: britannica.com


When Sylvia McNair asked me to write her a major song cycle for Carnegie Hall, she had only one request; to choose an American text.

I have set only four poets in my adult compositional life: Stephen Spender, Richard Wilbur, Dylan Thomas (whose major works generated the oratorio A Dylan Thomas Trilogy) and William M. Hoffman, collaborator with me on, among other, shorter pieces, the opera The Ghosts of Versailles. Aside from asking Bill to create a new text, I had no ideas.

Except that I had always heard, by reputation, of the high regard accorded the folk-ballad singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. But I was so engaged in developing my orchestral technique during the years when Dylan was heard by the rest of the world that I had never heard his songs.

So I bought a collection of his texts, and found many of them to be every bit as beautiful and as immediate as I had heard-and surprisingly well-suited to my own musical language. I then contacted Jeff Rosen, his manager, who approached Bob Dylan with the idea of re-setting his poetry to my music.

I do not know of an instance in which this has been done before (which was part of what appealed to me), so I needed to explain that these would be in no way arrangements, or variations, or in any way derivations of the music of the original songs, which I decided to not hear before the cycle was complete. Just as Schumann or Brahms or Wolf had re-interpreted in their own musical styles the same Goethe text, I intended to treat the Dylan lyrics as the poems I found them to be. Nor would their settings make any attempt at pop or rock writing. I wanted to take poetry I knew to be strongly associated with popular art and readdress it in terms of concert art-crossover in the opposite direction, one might say. Dylan granted his permission, and I set to work.

I chose seven poems for what became a thirty-five minute cycle. A Prologue: Mr. Tambourine Man, in a fantastic and exuberant manner, precedes five searching and reflective monologues that form the core of the piece; and Epilogue: Forever Young makes a kind of folk-song benediction after the cycle's close. Dramatically, the inner five songs trace a journey of emotional and civic maturation, from the innocence of Clothes Line through the beginnings of awareness of a wider world (Blowin' in the Wind), through the political fury of Masters of War, to a premonition of an apocalyptic future (All Along the Watchtower), culminating in a vision of a victory of ideas (Chimes of Freedom). Musically, each of the five songs introduces an accompanimental motive that becomes the principal motive of the next. The descending scale introduced in Clothes Line resurfaces as the passacaglia which shapes Blowin' in the Wind. The echoing pulse-notes of that song harden into the hammered ostinato under Masters of War; the stringent chords of that song's finale explode into the raucous accompaniment under All Along the Watchtower; and that song's repeated figures dissolve into the bell-sounds of Chimes of Freedom.

Several years after composing the vocal/piano score I orchestrated the work. Since I did not want the soprano to have to sing in an "operatic" manner (with these Dylan texts), I specified that she be amplified. This way, she can project her voice over the orchestra while remaining intimate in her sound. The work is dedicated to Mark Adamo.

John Corigliano


Mr. Tambourine Man, John Corigliano's 35-minute song cycle for amplified soprano and orchestra, had a unique genesis. Corigliano took texts from songs by Bob Dylan, and treated them purely as poetry, without using or referring to Dylan's music. He professes not to even know the Dylan originals, but frankly, it's a little hard to believe that anyone who didn't spend the 1960s in an isolation chamber could have avoided hearing "Blowin' in the Wind" somewhere along the line.

Corigliano's experiment pays off because the texts are indeed terrific, and his thoughtful and evocative settings are persuasive interpretations of Dylan's lyrics. His music makes no reference to the folk tradition in which Dylan writes. These are clearly art songs with an entirely different set of aesthetic parameters, but particularly in the more reflective movements, Corigliano's settings have a haunting melancholy that evokes a sensibility of American populism not too far from Dylan's in its depth of feeling and emotional impact. He gives "Forever Young" a strophic setting that's wonderfully melodically memorable; its simplicity and transparency make it achingly poignant. There's a homespun Ivesian flavor to Corigliano's wistful and mysterious setting of "Clothes Line". "Blowin' in the Wind", perhaps the hardest sell because Dylan's original is so distinctive, succeeds because it brings a new twist to the text; it quietly begins with a sense of smoldering anger and grows in intensity as the cumulative power of the unanswerable questions builds, until it erupts in an outcry of full-blown rage before subsiding into resigned sadness.

Hila Plitmann's remarkably pure and expressive voice and emotionally direct and unmannered performance make her the ideal interpreter for this material.

Source: Stephen Eddins (allmusic.com)


Leonard Slatkin conducting the DSO. Photo by Richard Termine
















Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125, byname the Choral Symphony, orchestral work in four movements by Ludwig van Beethoven, remarkable in its day not only for its grandness of scale but especially for its final movement, which includes a full chorus and vocal soloists who sing a setting of Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude" (Ode to Joy). The work was Beethoven's final complete symphony, and it represents an important stylistic bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods of Western music history. Symphony No.9 premiered on May 7, 1824, in Vienna, to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience, and it is widely viewed as Beethoven's greatest composition.

Beethoven's Symphony No.9 was ultimately more than three decades in the making. Schiller's popular "Ode to Joy" was published in 1785, and it is possible that Beethoven made his first of multiple attempts to set it to music in the early 1790s. He clearly revisited the poem in 1808 and 1811, as his notebooks include numerous remarks regarding possible settings. In 1812 Beethoven determined to place his setting of "Ode to Joy" within a grand symphony.

Ten more years passed before that symphony's completion, and during that time Beethoven agonized over the composition's every note. His notebooks indicate that he considered and rejected more than 200 different versions of the "Ode to Joy" theme alone. When he finally finished the work, he offered to the public a radically new creation that was part symphony and part oratorio – a hybrid that proved puzzling to less-adventuresome listeners. Some knowledgeable contemporaries declared that Beethoven had no understanding of how to write for voices; others wondered why there were voices in a symphony at all.

The story of the premiere of Symphony No.9 is widely told and disputed. Beethoven had steadily lost his hearing during the course of the symphony's composition, and by the time of its premiere he was profoundly deaf. Although he appeared onstage as the general director of the performance, kapellmeister Michael Umlauf actually led the orchestra with the conductor's baton, taking tempo cues from Beethoven. According to one account of the event, the audience applauded thunderously at the conclusion of the performance, but Beethoven, unable to hear the response, continued to face the chorus and orchestra; a singer finally turned him around so that he could see evidence of the affirmation that resounded throughout the hall. Other accounts maintain that the dramatic incident occurred at the end of the second movement scherzo. (At the time, it was common for audiences to applaud between movements.) Whenever the applause occurred, that it passed unnoticed by Beethoven makes clear that he never heard a note of his magnificent composition outside his own imagination.

Symphony No.9 broke many patterns of the Classical style of Western music to foreshadow the monolithic works of Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, and other composers of the later Romantic era. Its orchestra was unusually large, and its length – more than an hour – was extraordinary. The inclusion of a chorus, moreover, in a genre that was understood to be exclusively instrumental, was thoroughly unorthodox. The formal structure of the movements, while generally adhering to Classical models, also charted new territory. For example, the first movement, although in Classical sonata form, confounds listeners first by rising to a fortissimo climax in the harmonically unstable exposition section and then by delaying a return to the home key. The scherzo, with all its propulsive energy, is placed as the second movement, rather than the customary third, and the third movement is a mostly restful, almost prayerful adagio. The last movement builds from a gentle beginning into a brazen finale, while recalling some of the themes from earlier movements; once the "Ode to Joy" theme arrives, the musical form essentially becomes that of variations within a broader sonata-form structure.

Despite some sharp initial critique of the work, Symphony No.9 has withstood the test of time and, indeed, has made its mark. In the world of popular culture, the symphony's menacing second movement in brisk waltz time provided a backdrop for some of the most tense and twisted moments in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess' psycho-thriller novel A Clockwork Orange (1962). The choral fourth movement accompanies a triumphant soccer (football) scene in Peter Weir's film Dead Poets Society (1989). In the realm of technology, the audio capacity of the compact disc was set at 74 minutes in the early 1980s, purportedly to accommodate a complete recording of Beethoven's Symphony No.9.

Symphony No.9 has also been used to mark monumental public events, among the most moving of which took place on Christmas Day 1989 in Berlin. There, in the first concert since the demolition of the Berlin Wall just a few weeks earlier, American conductor Leonard Bernstein led a group of musicians from both the eastern and western sides of the city in a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No.9 with a small but significant alteration: in the "Ode to Joy" the word Freude was replaced with Freiheit ("freedom"). A performance of the choral finale of the symphony – with simultaneous global participation via satellite – brought the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, to a powerful close.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)












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