Stacy Garrop: For the Crime of Voting (World Premiere | Festival Commission)
(Text from Susan B. Anthony; with recorded narration)
Paola Prestini: Hindsight: Let Me See the Sun (Lara Downes, piano)
Dan Caputo: Liminal
Christopher Rouse: Symphony No. 6 (West Coast Premiere)
One hundred years ago—on August 26, 1920—the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was officially adopted, establishing the right of women to vote. Tonight we celebrate that revolutionary event with a pair of works saluting the women’s suffrage movement and Susan B. Anthony, its principal leader. Her fiery words form the basis of Stacy Garrop’s ambitious new work for orchestra and narration. A world premiere, commissioned by the Festival, For the Crime of Voting is inspired by Anthony’s arrest, trial and conviction in 1872—for illegally casting her ballot in the presidential election. Over the years, Garrop’s compositional “virtuosity” has allowed her to tell musical stories with “tenderness and grace” (San Francisco Chronicle). Tonight, expect to hear an effecting dialogue between Garrop’s strongly communicative musical gestures and Anthony’s fierce commentary about the “mockery” of barring millions of women from the voting booth.
The program’s second tribute to the 19th Amendment is Hindsight: Let Me See the Sun, a piano concerto by Paola Prestini whose past collaborators have included film directors, astrophysicists and puppeteers. Composer Philip Glass calls her “an artistic visionary; there is a kind of energy system that follows her work wherever she goes.” Let Me See the Sun is Prestini’s collaboration with soloist Lara Downes, whose concerts and recordings often have celebrated the freedom struggles of women and African-Americans. A thoughtful and powerful performer, Downes is “showing us how to make music matter” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
The program’s second half begins with Liminal by young composer Dan Caputo, making his Festival debut. It evokes the restless period between wakefulness and sleep: tossing and turning, plunging into the world of dreams, and being jolted awake. It’s all there in Caputo’s fascinating score, mirroring the distorted realities of the mind.
We close the program with a major work by the late Christopher Rouse, one of the greatest American composers of the past half-century, as well as a beloved presence at Cabrillo. His death in September elicited an outpouring of sorrow from Festival audience members and musicians, who always were challenged and moved by his genius. More than 20 of Rouse’s works have been performed at Cabrillo through the years. Tonight, Maestro Macelaru and the Orchestra perform Rouse’s Symphony No. 6, which he composed while dying. In effect, Rouse delivered his own eulogy: “It’s a haunting and profound farewell… masterfully orchestrated and transparently rendered. Twenty-five minutes long, it has the sweep of Mahler but the concision of poetry. (New York Times).”