Thursday, February 21st @6:30pm
Sunday, February 24th @4:00pm
The Blanton Museum of Art
Inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s newly implemented work, Austin, we present a concert on the boundaries of religion centered around a favorite of the Density512 team, Igor Stravinsky. This concert will juxtapose some of Stravinsky’s earlier work with his Catholic mass and four brand new Density512 commissions including a new oratorio by Ben Stevenson.
Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1945 version)
"I did not, and indeed I could not, count on any immediate success for his work. It is devoid of all the elements which infallibly appeal to the ordinary listener and to which he is accustomed. It would be futile to look in it for any passionate impulse or dynamic brilliance. It is an austere ritual which is unfolded in terms of short litanies between different groups of homogeneous instruments." ~Igor Stravinsky
Mass (1944-48) interspersed with Symphony of Proverbs: Part I (2019-?)
Mass I. Kyrie ... Igor Stravinsky
*Wise Eyes, Moist Bones ... Ben Stonaker
Mass II. Gloria
Mass III. Credo
*Reflections of Him ... Adeliia Faizullina
Mass IV. Sanctus
*A-mara ... Akshaya Avril Tucker
Mass V. Agnus Dei
“I became fascinated by the direct association of nourishment, health, moisture, strength, and sustenance with fear, evil, and foolishness - constantly questioning its connection to a specific creator or divine power. The music deals with this by way of vocal sound effects and layered textures that create a satirical, clumsy, blurred exploration of the text: "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to they navel, and marrow to they bones." (Proverbs 3:7-8).” ~Ben Stonaker
“Reflections of Him, is inspired by Tatar proverb. I am Tatar and I translated this proverb nto English, but added some Tatar and Italian words to show that, even speaking different languages, we all reflect each other, reflect the main sense of life. [I used] ‘Parolo’ in Italian and ‘Sooz’ in Tatar as symbols of all different languages reflect the people who speak them and as symbols of knowledge [that] reflects our past, present and future. Word is the powerful tool that brought religions and knowledge to us and I hope will be serving for peace in the world.” ~ Adeliia Faizulina
“A-mara takes inspiration from an anecdote from Sanskrit literature. The story is about a person who is totally broken and desperate, who unexpectedly finds a way to the sacred name ‘Rama.’ The message, or proverb, is that there is always a way back to your true self, whether you interpret it through a spiritual, artistic or humanistic lens.” ~Akshaya Avril Tucker
Concerto for Piano and Winds (1923-24, rev. 1950)
Martin Kesuma, piano
Stravinsky wrote this piano concerto for his own use – and performed it more than forty times in the five years following the premiere under Serge Koussevitzky (who had requested such a work). Of the piquant scoring Stravinsky wrote: "The short, crisp dance character of the Toccata [the first movement], engendered by the percussion of the piano, led to the idea that a wind ensemble would suit the piano better than any other combination. In contrast to the percussiveness of the piano, the winds prolong the piano's sound as well as providing the human element of respiration." The concerto begins with a slow processional of enormous gravity; the ensuing toccata explodes with a high trumpet blast. These polarities are retained: the middle movement is a sonorous Largo, the finale a breathless Allegro.
Program note provided by Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.
Oratorio Corpus Christi (2018-19)
“This pieces draws from the different uses of the terms ‘flesh’ and ‘bod’” in the bible, using them to comment on the institutional Christian church. Throughout the work, different elements of modern Christian music and customs are imitated and satirized, bringing attention to three of its biggest flaws: the lack of congregational unity; harsh treatment of marginalized groups - including LGBTQ+ people and sex abuse victims, and the commercialization of Christianity.
As someone who grew up in Protestant Churches and still identifies as Christian, religion influences almost every area of my life. Though I have a lot of affection for Christianity, I have been disgusted by certain recurring features in institutional churches. These issues ruin the societal perception of a faith that has meant so much to me, going far enough in some instances to separate families and destroy lives. I don’t typically compose on religious themes, but I felt compelled to make this complex statement on organized Christianity, and a piece of this scale seemed like the perfect medium” ~Ben Stevenson