Mobtown Modern, Baltimore Symphony celebrate music of Osvaldo Golijov
Osvaldo Golijov is one of several compelling contemporary composers who do not get nearly enough attention in Baltimore, so this week's little Golijov confluence involving Mobtown Modern and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is all the more noteworthy.
Mobtown starts it off at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Windup Space with a performance of "Ayre," the Argentine composer's song cycle reflecting on the 15th-century mingling in Spain of three cultures: Jewish, Christian, Arab.
As Golijov has written, "With a little bend, a melody goes from ...
Jewish to Arab to Christian. How connected these cultures are and how terrible it is when they don't understand each other ... somehow harmony was [once] possible between these civilizations."
The 40-minute "Ayre" (the title is medieval Spanish for "melody") incorporates texts in several languages. It is scored for soprano voice, flute, clarinet, horn, violin, cello, double bass, harp, accordion, ronroco/guitar, percussion and laptop. The Mobtown performance will feature soprano Lara Bruckmann.
This concert is part of the "Synchronicity" project launched this season, an association between Mobtown Modern and the BSO.
The BSO's nod to Golijov comes in the form of "Sidereus," a work the orchestra co-commissioned through the Henry Fogel Consortium (the BSO is one of 35 ensembles participating in this project saluting Fogel, past president of the League of American Orchestras).
"Sidereus," which premiered last fall in Memphis, takes its name from "Sidereus Nuncius," Galileo's text about observing our moon and the moons of Jupiter through a telescope. In Golijov's work, a theme representing the moon undergoes both a telescopic and micropscopic examination, "so that the textures, the patterns from which the melody emerges and into which it dissolves, point to a more molecular, atomic reality," the composer writes.
Marin Alsop conducts this BSO program, which also features music of Brahms and Britten. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday at Strathmore; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday at Meyerhoff.
Here are two extremely different excerpts from Golijov's "Ayre" that give you an idea of the work's remarkable musical and emotional range: