"Beethoven's music has the ability to shed light on the true nature of things. Sometimes music is about beauty expressed in sound, but in Beethoven the search for truth is primary”
- Yael Weiss
How often do you get to hear a concert featuring the music of 6 living composers from 6 different countries (mostly world premieres) alongside works by Beethoven? We are in for a musical treat on tomorrow evening's Front Row Washington as award-winning Israeli-American pianist Yael Weiss brings us a concert to remember with her project, 32 Bright Clouds: Beethoven Conversations Around the World.
The project is described on her website as:
“...a global music-commissioning and performing project, born from a need to respond to current social and political environments in the U.S. and worldwide with a personally meaningful and purposeful musical endeavor.
The project combines the 32 Beethoven Piano sonatas with 32 newly commissioned short piano compositions from 32 composers in 32 different countries spanning the globe.
32 Bright Clouds engages composers hailing from countries where conflict and instability create challenges and obstacles for artists, and countries where classical music is not a widespread form of artistic expression.
The project aims to harness music's great power for unity and peace, cherishing and enjoying the differences of diverse peoples and cultures and presenting their works on the concert stage. Yael Weiss will be performing all the new works as well as the Beethoven Sonatas world-wide in different combinations and formats.
Each of the newly commissioned compositions is a personal exploration of material from a specific Beethoven Sonata, while also offering a unique expression of the composer’s local musical language. A single motif from the final section of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis also appears in every piece, creating a cohesive cycle of works. The motif was selected because of Beethoven’s compelling inscription "A Call for Inward and Outward Peace" above the notes. Beethoven's dedication expresses the overall essence, purpose, and character of 32 Bright Clouds. Each work makes use of this motif as a musical “code”, representing our shared human experience and the universal aspiration for peace.”
Here is that peace theme mentioned above from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, which appears in some form in every commissioned work on the program.
Each work is unique and approaches the peace theme differently, sometimes rather creatively. In one of the works, at the direction of the composer (Sidney Marquez Boquiren), she must put on headphones and listen to a separate work while performing another on stage. A performance of one of the works (Ananda Sukarlan, No More Moonlight over Jakarta) even prompted an Amnesty International press conference in support of an imprisoned politician in Indonesia. I think we can all agree on the power of music!
In this video, Yael Weiss demonstrates the peace motif from the piano and talks about one of the works on the program, Ananda Sukarlan’s No More Moonlight over Jakarta:
Yael Weiss shares her affinity for Beethoven’s music and how she prepares his works:
The commissioned composers we’ll be enjoying:
A link to the program is here. Join us Monday night at 9PM ET for this extraordinary program.
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