From WILL - Evening Concert -

Los Angeles Philharmonic Perform’s Tchaikovsky’s 6th

Tonight, it’s the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Guest conductor Marin Alsop leads the group in Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, the “Pathetique,” and Barber’s 2nd Essay for Orchestra. Also on the program Osvaldo Golijov’s exotic Concerto for cello plus percussion and hyper-accordion called “Azul.”

Marin Alsop, cond.; *Joshua Roman, cello; Michael Ward-Bergeman, hyper-accordion; Jamey Haddad, percussion
BARBER:  Essay No. 2
*GOLIJOV, Osvaldo (b.1960, Argentina; Romanian/Russian descent):  Azul (2006)
TCHAIKOVSKY:  Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Program notes: Lastly, what IS a hyper-accordion? It is not an accordion with a Ritalin prescription, but an instrument that Michael Ward-Bergeman designed himself. “When I developed the hyper-accordion,” he says, “my goal was to stretch the boundaries of what the traditional instrument could do. Paramount to this goal from the beginning was effects processing. The accordion is one of the world’s only true stereo instruments, which gave me a tremendous amount of room to explore new sounds with my customized stereo miking configuration.” (per Laura Seiden, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra website)


Osvaldo Golijov (per the composer's website osvaldogolijov.com, words by Alex Ross) was born in Argentina, in 1960. His parents, professors at the University of La Plata, came from Russian-Jewish and Rumanian-Jewish backgrounds. The synthesis of South-American and Jewish heritage is probably the bedrock of Golijov's style; it informs his potent mix of exuberant dance rhythm and lamenting melos, although it's hazardous to say which element is Jewish and which is Latino in origin. The composer spent part of his youth in Jerusalem, then moved to the United States to study with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania.


Azul was written in 2006 for YoYo Ma on commission from the Boston Symphony for its 125th year anniversary celebrations. it is a work for cello and obbligatop instruments including the ubiquitous hyper-accordion. In conceiving the piece Azul, Golijov knew immediately that he didn't want to write a virtuoso solo showcase for Yo-Yo Ma, who has many such pieces already in his repertoire. Rather he chose to eschew bombast for contemplation, and wrote a work that is not a concerto, somewhat in the sphere, Golijov says, of Berlioz's non-concerto for viola Harold in Italy, although here there is no literary impulse behind the music. Among the various ways the composer has thought about Azul is as a 21st-century Baroque adagio, such as those by Handel or Bach. In fact it is the French Baroque composer Couperin who, as in others of Ma's pieces, stands as a model. Azul began as a reconsideration of Golijov's earlier Tenebrae for soprano and string quartet, which itself is based partly on the melismatic settings of Hebrew letter names in Couperin's Leçons de Tenebrae. Golijov wanted to "evoke the majesty of certain Baroque adagios," and recapture for the present that ability of the late Baroque composers to suspend time without stopping motion in their music, and to achieve somehow for himself the special light-filled airiness that one hears in Couperin. ( - Robert Kipzinger at composer's website) read more at  http://www.osvaldogolijov.com/nnd15.htm