Give the Gift of Music! Pacific Symphony Recording of Grammy-Winning Composer William Bolcom’s “Canciones De Lorca” Released!
Dedicated to championing the music of living composers and adding to the orchestral repertoire, Pacific Symphony and Music Director Carl St.Clair recently released a new CD (just in time for the holidays!) featuring two literary-inspired works by American composer William Bolcom on the Naxos label. The first piece, “Canciones de Lorca,” is a song-cycle based on the language of Spain’s revered poet, Frederico García Lorca, and the Flamenco influence that is latent in each poem. Described by Variety as “fascinating” and “free spirited,” the work was composed in collaboration with tenor Plácido Domingo for the 2006 inauguration of the Symphony’s primary residence, the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Pacific Symphony premiered the piece and performed it again in 2013 with award-winning tenor René Barbera for this recording.
The second work, “Prometheus,” received its premiere in 2010, and features acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel and Pacific Chorale. Setting the score to Lord Byron’s poem of the same name, Bolcom uses the legend of Prometheus as a metaphor for today’s turbulent times and society’s reliance on technology. The composer dedicates the work to hope and a peace derived from greater universal understanding. The recording is available for purchase as an Audio CD and MP3 album on Amazon and for MP3 download on iTunes. For more information, please call (714) 755-5799 or Click Here.
Considered a master of versatility, Bolcom is known for his effortless range and his ability to reflect the totality of American music. A friend of Maestro St.Clair since their days teaching at the University of Michigan, Bolcom was honored by Pacific Symphony when St.Clair dedicated the 2003 American Composers Festival to his “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” based on the poems of William Blake.
“What Bill created is a set of songs vividly reflecting the deep meaning of Lorca’s texts,” says St.Clair of Bolcom’s 2006 composition, “Canciones de Lorca,” which evokes the song-lyric atmosphere he felt was concealed in each of Lorca’s poems.. “Bill, remaining true to his compositional voice, yet setting the poems with just the right touch of ‘Spanish’ flair and color, has wedded words and music, each enhancing the other.”
Pianist Biegel was the impetus for the 2009 consortium that commissioned Bolcom to write a 20-minute work with the same forces as Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy”: piano, chorus and orchestra. In Bolcom’s “Prometheus,” the piano represents the Greek god who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans, and the eternal suffering he endured as punishment. The chorus, sung by Pacific Chorale, is set to Lord Byron’s poem of the same name, which was written on the verge of the Industrial Age. In Bolcom’s opinion, this ancient legend relates to today, as the Western world discovers new technologies, which are powerful, but also lead to destruction.
“Bolcom’s score, which is a setting of Lord Byron’s “Prometheus,” has something to say, and the performance said it brilliantly,” wrote Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times.