Under Malkki... a strings-only orchestra treated listeners to a sublime reverie penned in 1943
“A warmer welcome than William Grant Still’s “Mother and Child” is hard to imagine. Under Malkki, chief conductor emeritus of the Helsinki Philharmonic, a strings-only orchestra treated listeners to a sublime reverie penned in 1943, inspired by an image by Sargent Johnson.
The all-too-brief work radiated tenderness, exemplifying the depth, complexity, and intensity of maternal love. The music roved through various imagined scenes, but Malkki guaranteed that Still’s and Johnson’s visions unfolded as a single continuous arc.
Much the same can be said of Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” a setting of evocative, poignant prose by James Agee, from 1947.”