Speaking of the very busy, very approachable John Corigliano,  Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic are finishing up  a month of 9/11 tributes and memorials on September 30 with a performance of  John Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning, a  four movement song cycle each set to a poem from a different age and country, sung by mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe. The first is Czeslaw Milosz’s “A Song on the End of the World,” written in Warsaw in 1944; though tranquil in feel, there is a hint of “chaos to come,” says the composer. A section of Homer’s Iliad provides the words for the brutal second movement: a description of a massacre led by the Greek prince, Patroclus. The 8th century Chinese poet, Li Po’s “War South of the Great Wall” seems coolly removed from the battle, until we realize that the narrator’s husband and sons are fighting on the field. “Her anguish, and the battle that is its cause, surge in an orchestral interlude,” explains Corigliano. “‘One Sweet Morning’ ends the composition with the dream of a world without war—an impossible dream, perhaps, but certainly one worth dreaming.” Best known as the lyricist ofT he Wizard of Oz and Finian’s Rainbow, E. Y. (“Yip”) Harburg’s poem evokes a beautiful time when “the rose will rise…spring will bloom…peace will come….one sweet morning.”    Also, on the September 30-October 4 program is Barber’s Essay No. 1 and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7.  (I am much indebted to Jeremy Beck for sorting out my confusion about another, earlier piece of Corigliano’s with the same name and inspiration.)

I have a couple of pairs of tickets to the September 30 performance which could be yours.  All you need do is leave a comment below about your favorite Corigliano piece and why.  Next Tuesday, I’ll put the names in a hat, shake it a couple of times, and pick a couple of winners.  I have a favorite but I’m not saying until the rest of you do.

7 thoughts on “Corigliano al dente”
  1. Jerry, just to clarify your parenthetical above, it is composer Jeremy Howard Beck who kindly assisted you with the information about the Corigliano. You and I haven’t been in touch about this particular topic. You may wish to update the reference above, so that all resulting links are consistent. Many thanks!

    Jeremy Beck

  2. I really quite enjoy the Clarinet Concerto, mainly because I am a student clarinetist and it is one of the more enjoyable concerti written for the instrument within the last 40 years or so.

  3. Richard,

    Why the snark? Why do you feel the need to inform all of us of your dislike in the rudest, least genial way possible? Is your aim to persuade people of your point of view, or to get us to admire you?

    You’re free to dislike whatever you dislike–I will defend to the death anyone’s right to dislike anything, and there is PUH-LEN-TY of music that most composers love that I personally can’t stand–but, frankly, there’s no need to be an a@$hole about it. We’re all in this together.

  4. yeah jerry – get your sh!t together. (edit – you did get your sh!t together, good job!)

    my favorite corigliano piece is john cage’s 4’33” because i would rather listen to “silence,” than recycled mahler.

  5. Jerry, the concert is not a performance of the voice + piano version of One Sweet Morning. It is the world premiere of a new orchestral song cycle, for Stephanie Blythe and the NYPhil, which is titled One Sweet Morning, and the final movement of which is an adaptation of his previous setting of that poem. There are three other movements, with texts by Czeslaw Milosz, Li Po, and Homer. The texts all reflect on war and destruction in various ways, and the Harburg text at the end imagines a world without war. I’ve seen the score, and it looks to be an incredible evening, and a major new work. Please update with this info.

  6. Can’t be there unfortunately, but it sounds like it’ll be a lovely work. More mezzo rep please!

    There’s a new piece by Corigliano for electronics and soprano Hila Plitmann that has just been recorded. I look forward to hearing it!

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