IF FROM THE DISTANCE
BMV’s 50th Anniversary Concert
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 | 8pm
Kresge Auditorium @ MIT
48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
John Harbison: IF world premiere
A monodrama co-commissioned by BMV based on Hölderlin’s “If, from the distance” translated to English by the composer.
Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano
Niccolo Castiglioni: Tropi
Judith Weir: Blue-Green Hill
Gunther Schuller: Four Vignettes
Eitan Steinberg: Bagatella Molto Viva world premiere
CLICK HERE to see the concert program book!
In celebration of the start of our anniversary and John Harbison’s 80th birthday, we open our 50th Season of New Music with IF a Harbison world premiere featuring the BMV debut of soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon. The program also include Niccolo Castiglioni’s Tropi (a selection from BMV’s first season), Judith Weir’s Blue-Green Hill and Gunther Schuller’s Four Vignettes—both past BMV commissions—and a new bagatelle from Eitan Steinberg.
Composer’s Note for IF:
My first orchestra piece, Diotima (1975), comes from the early stages of a lifelong preoccupation with the poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843). The poem, Diotima, partakes of the poet's recreation, in his Odes and Elegies, of the ideals of Ancient Greece.
In his mid-thirties, under increasing pressure from the intensity of his imaginative and spiritual ambitions, and his chaotic personal life, Hölderlin's mental stability collapsed. A carpenter and admirer of his poetry, Ernst Zimmer, compassionately sheltered him, as it turned out, for forty-three years (over half the poet's life). Hölderlin continued to write, in a very different manner: simpler, more naive, but still eloquent. The poem, If from the Distance (Wenn aus der Ferne) is one of the first poems of this after-period. It is evidently written in the voice of Susette Gontard, the great love of the poet's life, saying what he would have longed, in vain, for her to say to him. Their separation and her subsequent sudden death were central to his mental breakdown, and the poem appears to be the only treatment of that situation during his long existence in Zimmer's cottage.
My determination to set the poem in English precipitated various attempts at translating it, finally completed during two weeks in Dresden in 2015, the process indivisible from the making of the monodrama, IF, as a piece of music.
— John Harbison
About Soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon:
Noted for her “dazzling, virtuoso singing” (Boston Globe), Lucy Fitz Gibbon is a dynamic musician whose repertoire spans the Renaissance to the present. She believes that creating new works and recreating those lost in centuries past is integral to classical music’s future. As such, Lucy has performed U.S. premieres of works by Baroque composers Francesco Sacrati, Barbara Strozzi, and Agostino Agazzari, as well by 20th century composers including Roman Palester and Jean Barraqué. She has also worked closely with numerous others, including John Harbison, Kate Soper, Sheila Silver, David Hertzberg, Reena Esmail, Anna Lindemann, and Pauline Oliveros, on projects ranging from song to opera and beyond. In helping to realize the complexities of music beyond written notes, the experience of working with these composers translates to all music: the commitment to faithfully communicate not only the score, but also the underlying intentions of its creator.
As a recitalist, Lucy has appeared with her collaborative partner, pianist Ryan McCullough, in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Park Avenue Armory, and Merkin Hall; and Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Their 2019-20 season includes recitals from coast to coast, the release of a CD on the Albany Records label featuring works by James Primosch and John Harbison, and the creation of a CD featuring works by neglected 20th century Polish composers. In the past four years, she has also appeared as a soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; the American Symphony Orchestra; the Albany Symphony; the Tulsa Symphony; the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra; the Eureka Symphony; and the UC Davis, Ithaca College, Cornell University, University of Rhode Island Symphonies, among others. Lucy has spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center (2014-2015) and Marlboro Music Festival (2016-2019).
For more information, see www.lucyfitzgibbon.com.
$10 Students and Children
All tickets general admission
Special discounts available for groups!
Call (617) 354-6910 for details
Boston Musica Viva
Richard Pittman, Music Director
Sarah Brady, flute
William Kirkley, clarinet
Aaron Likness, keyboards
Robert Schulz, percussion
Bayla Keyes, violin
Mark Berger, viola
Jan Müller-Szeraws, cello
Carolyn Fryer, bass
Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano