On today’s date in 2008, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, soprano Dawn Upshaw and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra gave the first performance of a new song cycle, Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories. Its composer, Maria Schneider, conducted the premiere.
Drummond was one of Brazil’s greatest poets, and Schneider came to know his work through English translations by Mark Strand. “Drummond’s poetry struck me as deeply Brazilian, and Brazil is a country for which I’ve long felt an affinity,” she said.
The Minneapolis premiere was something of a homecoming for Schneider, who was born in Minnesota and studied composition at its university before heading off to the Eastman School and after graduation being hired by the great jazz orchestrator Gil Evans as his assistant. In 1992, she formed her own jazz orchestra and won a Grammy with it in 2004.
Upshaw is a big fan of Schneider’s work, and in 2011 they collaborated on the premiere of a second song cycle, Winter Morning Walks, based on poems of Ted Kooser.
"I knew that no matter what she was going to write,” Upshaw said, “it was going to be a joyful experience."
Music Played in Today's Program
Maria Schneider (b. 1960) Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories - Dawn Upshaw, soprano; St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Maria Schneider, conductor ArtistShare AS-0121
On This Day
1801 - German composer Albert Lortzing, in Berlin;
1906 - American composer Miriam Gideon, in Greeley, Colorado;
1923 - American composer Ned Rorem, in Richmond, Indiana;
1754 - Rameau: opera-ballet "Anacréon," at Fortainebleau;
1890 - Borodin: opera "Prince Igor" (completed posthumously by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov) at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, with K.A. Kuchera conducting (Gregorian date: Nov. 4);
1897 - Scriabin: Piano Concerto, in Odessa, with the composer as soloist (Gregorian date: Nov. 4);
1903 - MacDowell: symphonic poem “Lamia” (after Keats), by the Boston Symphony, Max Fiedler conducting;
1913 - Delius: "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring" and "Summer Night on the River," by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,Artur Nikisch conducting;
1931 - Stravinsky: Violin Concerto, in Berlin, by the Berlin Radio Orchestra conducted by the composer, with Samuel Dushkin as soloist;
1941 - William Grant Still's "Plain Chant for America," by the New York Philharmonic, John Barbirolli conducting;
1959 - Piston: "Three New England Sketches" for orchestra, in Worcester, Mass., by the Detroit Symphony, Paul Paray conducting;
1959 - Rorem: "Eagles," by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting;
1963 - Hovhaness: Symphony No. 17 ("Symphony for Metal Orchestra"), in Cleveland;
1970 - Crumb: "Black Angels (13 Images from the Dark Lord)" for string quartet,in Ann Arbor, Mich.;
1981 - Sessions: "Concerto for Orchestra," by the Boston Symphony; This work won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1982;
1997 - Danielpour: "Celestial Night," by the New Jersey Symphony, Zdenek Macal conducting;
2002 - Peter Maxwell Davies: "Naxos Quartet" No. 1, at Wigmore Hall, London, by the Maggini Quartet;
1739 - Handel completes in London his Concerto Grosso in Bb, Op. 6, no. 7 (see Julian date: Oct.12);
1881 - First concert by Concerts Lamoureux, in Paris, founded by Charles Lamoureux.
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About Composers Datebook®
Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.
He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.