In an interesting pairing of contemporary choral compositions by Osvaldo Golijov and Philip Glass, The Chorale turns its attention towards Latin America with the New York premieres of Oceana and Symphony No. 7 "Toltec." Commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival in 1996, Golijov wrote Oceana in the spirit of a Bach cantata, but in a Latin American musical style featuring a jazz/pop vocalist, percussion, and guitars. Set to the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Oceana, in Golijov's words, is the "transmutation of passion into geometry" and that "water and longing, light and hope, the immensity of South America's nature and pain, are here transmuted into pure musical symbols, which nevertheless should be more liquid than the sea and deeper than the yearning that they represent." Venezuelan vocalist Biella Da Costa joins The Chorale in performance of this powerful musical work.
Composed in 2004, Symphony No. 7 - A Toltec Symphony is Philip Glass's personal homage to the ancient traditions and beliefs of the peoples of Mesoamerica, circa 700 BCE to 1100 BCE. Although often cited for their accomplishments in mathematics, calendar making, building and architecture, Glass is most concerned with Toltec personal spiritual development: "The Toltecs emphasized the relationship with the forces of the natural world (the sun, earth, water, fire and wind) in developing their own wisdom traditions." In his symphony, Glass portrays this spirituality with driving rhythms and varying textures in the orchestra and chorus. James Bagwell conducts The Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra.
with Biella Da Costa, soloist
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