San Francisco Symphony - Ives, Adams, Berlioz
San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. Ives: Piano Sonata No 2 (3rd mvt). Adams: Absolute Jest (with the St Lawrence String Quartet). Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique.
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in music from America's west and east coasts, plus Berlioz's opium-influenced Symphonie Fantastique.
Live from the Royal Festival Hall in London. Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch
Charles Ives: The Alcotts (3rd movement) from Piano Sonata No.2 'Concord' arr. Henry Brant for orchestra
John Adams: Absolute Jest
8.05: INTERVAL A profile of the St Lawrence String Quartet from Canada
8.20: Part 2
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
St Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)
Nineteenth-century New Englander Charles Ives was inspired by the countryside, the people and the ideas around where he lived. He wrote that his Concord Sonata was an "impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with Concord, Massachusetts over a half century ago." The Alcotts were leading figures of the Transcendentalist movement, and one of them was Louisa May Alcott, author of 'Little Women'.
The San Francisco Symphony commissioned their local luminary John Adams to compose 'Absolute Jest', a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, first performed in 2012. Adams took the music of Beethoven as his inspiration - as he puts it, he is excited by "the ecstatic energy of Beethoven."
With Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the San Francsico Symphony can be heard at their energetic and brilliant best. His 'Episode in the life of an artist' describes the inner adventures of a young man who has 'poisoned himself with opium', moving from ecstatic happiness to deep despair in a score full of vibrant colour and sharp sonic contrast.