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ANTHONY DAVIS: You Have the Right to Remain Silent
STILL: Ennanga for Harp, String Quartet, and Piano
SMETANA: Piano Trio in G minor, op. 15
AMFS artist-faculty, all top musicians from renowned orchestras, opera companies, and conservatories, come together to play their favorite chamber music works. Always a joyful and creative 75 minutes of music-making.
In the mid-1970s, more than 40 years before he won the Pulitzer Prize for music, pianist and composer Anthony Davis was driving with his wife to Boston for a concert when a police officer pulled them over. "He had put his siren on when he stopped me," Davis recalls. "And I was going to say, 'Well what is going on? I'm going to be late for my concert.'" His wife looked back at the police car and told Davis to be careful and not to leave the vehicle - that the officer had his gun drawn. The couple learned, eventually, that someone matching Davis' description had robbed a bank. "That could have gone left very easily," Davis reflects. "Because mistaken identity is a reality.” In 2010, when the Miller Theater at Columbia University commissioned Davis to write a new composition, he turned this experience and others into a piece called You Have the Right to Remain Silent. Davis chose a solo instrument to be the heart of the work: "The idea that the orchestra is interrogating the clarinet." (National Public Radio)
William Grant Still’s Ennanga – the Ugandan word for a miniature harp - is the only harp work he composed. This unusual combination of harp, piano and string quartet is in three movements. The first highlights the percussiveness of both harp and piano, set against rhythmically charged string passages. The second movement is sadly lyrical, and the third showcases the harpist’s virtuosity.
Smetana’s G minor Piano Trio, his first major compositional achievement, was written after the death of the eldest of his four daughters. The loss was especially devastating, as the adored 4 ½ year-old was already showing musical talent in both singing and piano. A somber mood pervades the piece, which contains echoes of Chopin and Schumann, gorgeous melodies, and deep emotion.
Hear AMFS artist faculty members in three contrasting rarities!