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A Mass of Life
Frederick Delius believed in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. And, like the philosopher himself, he believed in the lyrical quality of the prose-poem Also Sprach Zarathustra—so much so, in fact, that he actually set pieces of it to music. But although the resulting choral work is titled A Mass of Life, Delius wasn’t a man prone to preaching. Instead of diving into the specifics of the superman, the critique of Christianity, and the “recurrence of life,” he selected 11 soliloquies that ultimately add up to a celebration of the “Will to say Yea!” to life. And to make that celebration as grand as possible, Delius enlisted a double chorus, four soloists, a battery of T-shirt cannons, and a full orchestra loaded up with horns and brass.
For this performance the American Symphony Orchestra will join forces with singers Sarah Fox, Audrey Babcock, Rodrick Dixon, Thomas Cannon, and the Bard Festival Chorale under the baton of conductor Leon Botstein. Before the music begins, Botstein will take the stage at 7 p.m. to share the stories behind the music in a Conductor’s Notes Q&A session.
American Symphony Orchestra
For more than half a century the American Symphony Orchestra has hewn to founder Leopold Stokowski's original vision: "to offer concerts of great music within the means of everyone." That means its shows aren't just financially affordable, they're also demystified by conductor lectures and never held inside biodomes. In recent years, the organization has added a new facet to its time-tested strategy: curated concerts built around a theme. Shows might explore a particular place and time, examine a literary motif, or delve into the interaction between music and visual art. This strategy has attracted a lot of attention, and not just from audiences: such greats as Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voigt, Sarah Chang, and Carnegie Hall's mask-wearing Phantoms of the Barbershop Quartet have all vied to play with the Orchestra.
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