Now, it may be a hotly contested statement that New York is the cultural capital of the United States, but few would contest that city’s important role in so much of our country’s musical history.
In 1992, to celebrate its 150th anniversary, the New York Philharmonic commissioned many new works by leading composers and spread out their celebratory premieres over several years. On today’s date in 1996, Leonard Slatkin conducted one of these: an orchestral tribute to New York written by a native son—a work by Richard Danielpour titled “Toward the Splendid City.”
While intended as sonic portrait of his hometown, Danielpour’s piece was written entirely outside of the city. As Danielpour explains it:
“‘Toward the Splendid City’ is one of the very few works I’ve written completely away from New York. Work on the piece began in Seattle and was completed in Taos, New Mexico—and, to an extent, expresses the nostalgia I felt for the city. It became my sonic postcard of the town. One passage, a sound-painting with string harmonics, celesta, harp, vibes and bells, was inspired by my memory of floating about New York at night on a plane and seeing the lights of the city in the mist…”
Music Played in Today's Program
Richard Danielpour (b. 1956)Toward the Splendid CityPhilharmonia Orchestra; Zdenek Macal, cond.Sony 60779