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Robert Olson Photograph

War and Peace, Part II

Saturday Feb 27th at 7:30 pm
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium
Skyline High School
600 E Mountain View Ave Longmont

Robert Olson - Conductor

War and Peace Part II now on Sale Now

We all know that music has the capacity to touch our hearts in ways none of the other arts can  – witness the extent the role music played as the nation worked to heal itself after the horrific 9-11 tragedy.
   The first piece on the program, the Corigliano Symphony #1, will be unlike anything you’ve ever heard from the LSO.  It is a work written and dedicated to the many friends of the composer who had passed away from the terrible AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.  You can imagine the amount of “anger” involved from those who suffered a loss, and much of this piece uses all sorts of “noise” affects to express this anger.  You will see and hear a massive percussion section, playing instruments such as “brake drums”, “anvils”, and there will be TWO timpanists.  The players in the orchestra are asked to “ad lib” … play ‘whatever they want’ in a certain style (or the composer writes a set of notes and the performer can play them in whatever order they wish, and however they wish).  Then, out of nowhere, we hear an off-stage piano playing music that sounds like a pianist at a night club – perhaps only a few customers, listening to some heart-wrenching, “lonely” music.  It is in memoriam of a close friend of Corigliano’s … even that person’s name is written into the score!
   It isn’t all anger and dissonant noise … there are movements with extended solos for two celli, played with great lament, again to honor another lost friend.  It is a powerful piece of music.
   But I want you to keep your emotional juices “on high” as we play the second half of the concert, Strauss’ beautiful Death and Transfiguration, a work about a “struggling artist” seeking perfection all his life, only to discover that this perfection can only be attained in heaven after his death (you can even hear the exact moment the soul goes to heaven if you know when to listen for it).  The “Transfiguration” part of the piece, the long coda (ending), is some of the most beautiful music ever written, and when superimposed on the message of the Corigliano on the first half … well .. I will tell you that I’ve done this exact concert once before in Kansas City, and I was literally “bawling like a baby” at the end while conducting!  I have never, ever been more overwhelmed in a concert in all my life.  I hope you have a similar experience.

Robert Olson