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5. TWO CONCERTS OF NOTE
The choral and instrumental music of Gian Carlo Menotti has parallels
with his works for theatre, and Tre Cantate per solisti, coro e orchestra
in its settings of words by Teresa of Avila, San Giovanni dalle Croce, and
the composer himself, is a fusion of different music dating from the early
1980s through to the 90s.
Unpublished at the time of its first performance at the Cathedral of
St Matthew Apostle, Washington DC on October 15 1982, St Teresa's melancholy
text (adapted by Julia Melinek) Muero porque no muero is suggestively
Gregorian in a modal Spanish setting.
It carries the same message and aura as the opening of The Saint of
Bleecker Street in its sense of yearning passion. Something of the same
spirituality pervades San Giovanni's text although the poignancy is less
marked, while the final Death of Orpheus pictures the hero's abandoned lyre
on the shore after Thracian women had torn off his tunic, then divided his
limbs, and cast his severed head into the waves. As this floated on an indifferent
sea, mariners filled their throats with longing while seemingly listening
to Orpheus' lament by moonlight.
Menotti's calmly decorative orchestral seascape is distinctive in its
rocking motions, contrary to the surging climaxes of Debussy, Bridge, and
Sibelius, yet compelling in its authority as Apollo is requested to give
his son a haven on some rocky shore, forever one with the sea.
Inexplicably, the soloists are named in neither the programme nor souvenir
brochure, so I will await the Chandos release next year for details of the
two male singers.
Copyright © 27 November 2001
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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