The Lincoln Center concerts create exciting and important performance and outreach opportunities for our students. They showcase the School of Music's high level of innovation and artistry in some of the most prestigious venues in New York City.
This year's program is one that every professional ensemble would be jealous of, featuring a diverse and fascinating program filled with brilliance and beauty--one that puts IC at the forefront of the creative celebration of several important musical anniversaries in 2013.
The William Byrd motet, Laudibus in sanctis, is a scintillating setting of Psalm 150 that describes all manner of instruments: trumpets – tympani – cymbals, big and small – lyres, and dancing feet. Through dazzling five-part polyphony the tapestry created is vibrantly colored and ornately woven. The choir sings in a modified Mean Tone temperament where all major thirds are narrowed, to be perfectly tuned. The result is a rich tone that boosts the fundamental of each chord.
The W. H. Auden text, Hymn to St. Cecilia was written as a gift to his friend Benjamin Britten whose birthday was on St. Cecilia Day. It is both an evocative and provocative text. Britten’s orchestration of the voices enhances the text through texture and color and speed and range and dynamic contrast. The text describes Ceciia’s struggles and accomplishments as well as Britten’s.
Poulenc’s setting of the ancient Gloria text is wonderfully honest. When the text is joyous (Gloria, Laudamus te and Domine Fili) Poulenc is hilarious, exuberant, and almost Broadway! In depicting the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world) Poulenc creates an atmosphere that is cabaret-like. In the final movement, heaven is poignantly orchestrated, shimmering, suspended and sublime.
Lutoslawski's "Concerto for Orchestra" is an amazingly demanding work, one that has taken its place in the repertoire alongside its counterpart written by Bartok in 1943. In 1950, Lutoslawski was asked to write something brilliant for the Warsaw Philharmonic, to help it celebrate its rebirth after the devastation of the German occupation; a work that would truly show off its virtuosic solo and ensemble abilities. This work seemed the perfect choice to simultaneously celebrate Lutoslawski's centenary and to again fulfill its original purpose of showing off any orchestra's abilities.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is Ligeti's Atmosphères, written in 1961, which changed the compositional landscape for orchestras forever, eschewing melody and pulse for a dense kaleidoscopic show of textures and colors.The change to hear both the Ligeti and Lutoslawski side by side is one that the ICSO is very proud to bring to NYC.