Opening Chords from Spring Break

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"Vivaldi’s “Summer” Concerto from The Four Seasons has enough fire in it to break up the polar vortex we’ve been stuck in for the past three months. This concerto takes us through the various elements of a scorching summer day, following a weary shepherd and his flock. The sonnet that accompanies the concerto helps describe what happens in each movement, however, I feel that Vivaldi is able to paint such a vivid picture with his music that you almost don’t need the sonnet to imagine what is occurring. The Four Seasons are timeless classics that I could listen to over and over and still continue to be moved by the imagery. Take your Spring Break with One World Symphony this season and welcome in warmer weather the right way!" — Monica Martin on Vivaldi’s “Summer” Concerto, The Four Seasons

"No, you are not at a wedding, but you are hearing Vivaldi’s “Spring” live. I was just as surprised as you to hear and perform this piece in a concert. It’s one of those timeless classical pop hits that you hear everywhere — the elevator, the supermarket, or while you are on hold with your health care provider. Its sweet lyrical melodies evoke the gay singing birds and makes you happy that the cold days are over." — Sergey Prokofyev on Vivaldi’s “Spring” Concerto, The Four Seasons

"Although Vivaldi was a Catholic priest and a deeply religious person, I believe his sacred motet Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera could resonate with the Dali Lama as deeply as it would Pope Francis. The Latin text roughly translates to, “There is no true peace in this world without bitterness” and touches on themes of duality also seen in eastern philosophies. Our earthly existence has forces of turmoil and peace, war and love, darkness and lightness, death and life, winter and spring, all of which we cannot evade or escape. In this lilting aria, Vivaldi paints a perfect juxtaposition of these forces and their interconnectedness. He also makes it clear where his salvation lies, and what gives him hope. I am looking forward to this performance with One World Symphony, reflecting on rebirth, rejuvenation, and where my own salvation lies as we thaw from this long cold winter." – Sonya Headlam on Vivaldi’s Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera

"Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 may have been inspired by the death of the composer’s wife Nina. Like their marriage, the music is full of contradictory moods: the first movement is light but with some agitation and sarcastic humor, the second is dreamy but with eerie dark undertones, the third begins with a jolt into reality and then violence and conflict, the conflict abruptly ends with the return of the opening theme, and the music descends into the mood of first movement until the final chord where everything is resolved — possibly a reflection of his desire to reunite with his wife. I enjoy playing and listening to the original string quartet, similar to enjoying a bowl of good French Vanilla ice cream. Sung Jin’s arrangement and orchestration of the quartet — with the addition of woodwinds, horns, and string orchestra expanding on the range of tonal colors and emotional depth — is like adding a warm slice of a flourless molten chocolate cake to go with that vanilla ice cream." – Marguerite Iskenderian on Shostakovich String Quartet No. 7 (arranged/orchestrated by Sung Jin Hong)

"My piece Infinity is a meditation on death and rebirth. In centering the work around Philip Henry Savage's poem, I worked to musically convey the sense of awe and stillness in Savage's contemplation of boundlessness. Interspersed are two passionate outbursts using texts from Japanese death poems. Such poems are not morbid, but rather — being written once in a lifetime just before the author's death--are intensely personal and meaningful. These reflections on things beyond life represent to me winter and its end, and consequently, renewal in spring's beginning." – Andrew Struck-Marcell on Infinity (2014 World Premiere)

"I was very thrilled when Sung Jin asked me to sing Handel’s aria “Tornami a vagheggiar,” Handel’s tour de force exploration of feelings of seduction, longing, and rejection. Here the young Morgana pines after Bradamante, proclaiming her fiery desire with ever more intensity as the singer’s ornaments pile upon each other with increasing variation and insistence. What epitomizes spring more than the first blooms of young love? Here is my Morgana who is joyfully belting out of her pledge of love!" – Hyun Jin Cho on Handel’s “Tornami a vagheggiar,” Alcina

"Almirena (Rinaldo’s lover) would have won the best supporting actress if there were an Academy Award in 1711 for the most delicate plea, “Lascia ch’io pianga,” which Handel had gifted her. Chosen from one of the famous tales of Paladins, Handel’s Italian Opera Rinaldo established the composer’s initial success in London. The tempo Largo (broad) allows the character to gradually unbosom her verses in simple progression and calm atmosphere with a slow saraband rhythm. While the texts express how she is trapped by her cruel fate and sadness, the color of the harmony seems to indicate a thread of hope—just like a hint of spring." – Sharon Cheng on Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga,” Rinaldo

"When plugging this aria to my friends, I described it as “basically the saddest song I’ve ever heard” and I knew that would be enough to hook them! In the action preceding the aria, Peter renounces Jesus three times, and is overcome with grief and repentance. This Lenten meditation from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion is a prayer filled with heavy guilt. Singing it is like wallowing in a lake of hot, salty tears. It’s hopeless, despondent — and it feels SO GOOD. It’s so rich, so lush, and so evocative that my entire mood is transformed the moment the violin solo begins. I can feel my eyes starting to burn! By the end of it, I feel cleansed, almost numb, the way that a good cry leaves you buzzing, vacant, and calm." – Veronica Forman on J. S. Bach’s “Erbame Dich,” St. Matthew’s Passion




Monday, March 17, 2014
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street

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