Music of Our Time

Celebrating and Reflecting On Life


Young upcoming cello star Joshua Roman is back again with the Omaha Symphony. Just shortly after making Tchaikovsky live again with the full orchestra last month, now, in the Symphony Joslyn series, he immerses us in new music. You can hear him in “Dreamsongs, ” written for him in 2013 by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis.  The score has multiple intimations, deliberately eclectic, with hints of Bernstein, Mahler, minimalism, impressionism, jazz and pop. Kernis, by the way, says that he feels more comfortable writing beautiful music rather than something atonal. 

The second section, “Kora Song,” shows the composer’s interest in world music, dovetailing, in fact, with Roman’s own. It’s inspired by the kora, a plucked African string instrument. Which means that the cellist sometimes uses a guitar pick in solo parts, or, backed by conga drums, don’t be surprised if feelings of rock resound. http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/long-bio/Aaron-Jay-Kernis

More music of our time is heard, Cindy McTee’s elegiac and poignant “Adagio for Strings,” moved by the events of 9/11. It was written one year thereafter and incorporates her own “ Agnus Dei” for organ as well as a melody from Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Polish Requiem”  McTee also makes it clear that she feels an affinity with Samuel Barber’s “Adagio.”  http://www.cindymctee.com/bio_summary.html

Added to the modern sounds is Stravinsky-like neoclassicism which characterizes Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů’s friendly and often energetic “Serenade for Chamber Orchestra,” from 1930.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohuslav_Martin%C5%AF#Music

And, speaking of joy, it can be found as Thomas Wilkins also conducts Haydn’s 102nd Symphony, one likewise known for its serenity. Even somber at times, as well as having “one of the most substantial minuets in any symphony,” according to program annotator Paul Schiavo

Here multiple feelings, ideas and moods cross time.

This concert is March 12th , at Joslyn Art Museum’s Witherspoon Hall, 2200 Dodge St.  Sun. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. www.omahasymphony.org


Category: Music

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