Following her ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ concert with the HPO, Susanna Mälkki leads the ensemble and the distinguished violist Tabea Zimmermann in a concert entitled ‘Made in America’ on September 12 & 13 at the Helsinki Music Centre.
Featuring works from two American composers, the concert begins with Bernard Herrmann’s Scène d’Amor from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo. A prolific film composer, Herrmann’s music pushed the boundaries of film scores in the mid 20th century. Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher continues the program with Tabea Zimmermann highlighting this colorful and delicate concerto for viola. The evening will conclude with Wagner’s symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, a warm hearted and intimate piece which he wrote for his wife and children, and Joan Tower’s Made in America, a piece which won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Classical Composition. This critically acclaimed piece was praised by the New York Times saying:
“The piece is a celebration of America, as the title suggests, with fragments of “America the Beautiful” as a leitmotif. The idea is charmingly antiquated, the kind of thing composers did regularly in the 1940’s. That said, “Made in America” is not chest-thumping jingoism. Its triumphal moments are offset by dark, ominous stretches. The quotations from “America the Beautiful” peek through these tense sections as affirmations — often gentle ones — that the country’s ideals will prevail. Yet the work ends ambiguously, with the future in question.”