Composers Datebook®

Sean Hickey's Cello Concerto

Sean Hickey (b. 1970) –Cello Concerto (Dmitry Kouzov, vcl; St. Petersburg State Symphony; Vladimir Lande, cond.) Delos 3448


Composer's Datebook - 20220621

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June 21, 2022

Synopsis

There are dozens of famous cello concertos that get performed in concert halls these days, ranging from 18th century works by the Italian Baroque master Antonio Vivaldi to dramatic 20th century works of the Russian modernist Dmitri Shostakovich.

In 2007, the American composer Sean Hickey was commissioned by Russian cellist Dmitry Kouzov to write a new concerto, which received its premiere performance on today’s date two years later, in 2009.

“In this work,” Hickey recalled, “I wanted to fuse my interest in neo-classical clarity and design with the songful, heroic nature of the greatest cello concerto literature … My Cello Concerto had its Russian premiere at the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, a neo-Baroque edifice on the banks of the Fontanka River in Saint Petersburg … [It] was then recorded in the legendary Melodiya Studios on Vasilevsky Island in St. Petersburg, known from Soviet times as producing recordings from the likes of Shostakovich, Rostropovich, Mravinsky, and many others.

“One moment of personal satisfaction came when the Russian orchestra, after rehearsing the piece for days, picked up on a buried quotation from Shostakovich’s Seventh, his ‘Leningrad Symphony’ in the final pages of my piece. It’s easy to forget in the glittering and watery metropolis, which rivals any European city for beauty and culture, that St. Petersburg is a city full of ghosts.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Sean Hickey (b. 1970) –Cello Concerto (Dmitry Kouzov, vcl; St. Petersburg State Symphony; Vladimir Lande, cond.) Delos 3448

On This Day

Births

  • 1732 - German composer Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (9th son of J.S.), in Leipzig;

  • 1862 - American pianist and composer Henry Holden Huss, in Newark, N.J.;

  • 1892 - Swedish composer Hilding Rosenberg, in Bosjökloster (Ringsjon, Skane);

  • 1932 - Argentinian-born American composer Lalo Schifrin, in Buenos Aires; He wrote the famous "Mission Impossible" TV theme;

Deaths

  • 1908 - Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, age 64, in Lyubensk, near St. Petersburg (Julian date: June 8);

  • 2000 - American composer Allan Hovhaness, age 89, in Seattle;

Premieres

  • 1868 - Wagner: opera "Die Meistersinger von Nürenberg" (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg), in Munich at the Hofoper;

  • 1890 - R. Strauss: tone-poem "Death and Transfiguration" and "Burleske" for Piano and Orchestra, in Eisenach, at a convention of the General German Music Association, with the composer conducting and Eugen d'Albert as the piano soloist in the "Burleske";

  • 1898 - Fauré: incidental music, "Pelléas et Mélisande," in London;

  • 1980 - Peter Maxwell Davies: "Farwell to Stromness" for piano, at the St. Magnus Festival in Orkney, performed by the composer;

  • 1980 - Persichetti: "Mirror Etudes," in Lawton, Oklah., by pianist Virginia Sircy;

  • 1985 - Rautavaara: "Thomas," in Joensuu, Finland.

  • 1994 - Philip Glass: opera "La Belle et la Bête" (Beauty and the Beast) based on the film by Jean Cocteau), by the Philip Glass Ensemble, in Gibellina, Italy;