AMERICAN CLASSICS WITH THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Aundi Marie Moore, soprano
William Grant Still (American; 1895-1978)—Darker America (1924)
Samuel Barber (American; 1910-1981)—Knoxville: Summer of 1915 for high voice and orchestra, Op.24 (1947)
Alvin Singleton (American; 1940)—Eine Idee ist ein Stück Stoff (1988)
Aaron Copland (American; 1900-1990)—Appalachian Spring, concert suite after the ballet (1944)
This gorgeous concert showcases works by American composers, including Aaron Copland’s beloved Appalachian Spring, with its memorable theme taken from the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts (“tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free…”) and Samuel Barber’s glorious symphonic poem Knoxville: Summer of 1915, with its beautiful images of a soft southern summer evening long ago. Singing the unforgettable Barber work will be Chesapeake native, soprano Aundi Marie Moore, whose Metropolitan Opera debut last year in Porgy and Bess brought audiences to their feet.
What makes this program especially interesting is the juxtaposition of the two works by eminent Black American composers. William Grant Still’s Darker America, also a tone poem, is heartbreaking in its beauty, and its exploration of sorrow, hope and prayer. Alvin Singleton’s Eine Idee ist ein Stuck Stoff (“an idea is a piece of cloth”); composed in memory of both the great writer James Baldwin and the composer Gustav Mahler, Singleton’s work explores common ground between the blues and the waltz.