Canyons in the Canyon

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John Adams has been in Powell Hall observing rehearsals of his Scheherazade.2, with Leila Josefowicz as soloist in this mind-blowing violin symphony. Nonesuch Records is here too, recording the Friday and Saturday performances for future release.

Roger Kaza in Grand Canyon
Roger Kaza plays Messiaen in the Grand Canyon

With Adams on the scene thoughts of the recent California Tour are not too distant. His Saxophone Concerto, with soloist Timothy McAllister, was a big hit on the tour. In Berkeley and L.A. the Symphony performed Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars…, with pianist Peter Henderson and Principal Horn Roger Kaza receiving high praise from the critics for performing their difficult solo parts with such wondrous musicality. Alex Ross of The New Yorker was one of those critics. He was so taken with Kaza’s performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall that he solicited the hornist to share–for Ross’ indispensible blog therestisnoise–his story of playing From the Canyons extraordinary solo movement while on a float trip in the Grand Canyon.

Read Kaza’s story and link to Ross’ review of the St. Louis Symphony’s Messiaen concert in L.A. Click.

We Will Rock You

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The St. Louis Symphony performs Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man to lead off the final Music You Know concert this Friday, May 8.

On the Symphony’s Facebook page last week a bit of Fanfare history was provided: Copland was inspired by a speech by then Vice President of the United States Henry Wallace, in which Wallace proposed a “century of the common man.” A very democratic idea spoken in opposition to the rise of fascism around the globe.

Freddie Mercury. Photo credit: Carl Lender
Freddie Mercury                  Photo credit: Carl Lender
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland










Thus, Freddie Mercury, who knew classical music and opera, may have been influenced by Copland’s Fanfare, as you may hear in this parallel drawn by Alex Ross in The Rest Is Noise. Listen to the Queen anthem “We Will Rock You” and the principal theme of Fanfare for the Common Man. Click.