PostClassical Ensemble: Dvořák and America
PostClassical Ensemble, now in its ninth season, is an experimental musical laboratory testing the limits of orchestral programming. Their concerts regularly incorporate popular music, folk music, vernacular music and more, combining the music itself with insights into the people and the times that produced it.
Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz has done extensive research into Dvořák and his body of work, resulting in a book, an educational project about America in Dvořák’s time and this program.
Musical works include String Serenade, American Suite (orchestral version) and Hiawatha Melodrama. The latter work, a creation of Horowitz and Dvořák scholar Michael Beckerman, was inspired by the Longfellow poem “The Song of Hiawatha” and also draws on elements of Dvořák’s New World Symphony.
This event is part of A Festival of Dvořák’s Exploration in America, a series of concerts produced by PostClassical Ensemble in collaboration with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
PostClassical Ensemble most recently appeared at the Center in The Gershwin Project (2010-2011).
Review by Mocovox.com
I heard several fine performances of this work that basically wallow it those melodies, but conductor Angel Gil-Ordonez took a slightly different but intriguing approach. He held back on the overtly Romantic aspects of the score, emphasizing the accents and rhythmic motifs of the piece. It made the work a sharper, sprightlier piece and the Post Classical Ensemble performed it very well.
– DAVID CANNON, Mocovox.com, Monday, March 4, 2013
Review by The Washington Post
The real focus of the evening, though, was the premiere of a bold new work called “Hiawatha Melodrama,” put together by music historian Michael Beckerman and PostClassical artistic director Joseph Horowitz. Combining music from the “New World” symphony, the “American Suite” and the Violin Sonatina with a truncated version of Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha,” it suggests what Dvorak might have written if he’d completed a planned vocal work based on the epic poem.
– STEPHEN BROOKES, The Washington Post, Sunday, March 3, 2013
Preview by the Washington Examiner
Dvořák is a juicy example of assimilation, having woven American folk elements into his works like threads in a tapestry, and the [PostClassical Ensemble] is there to show it off in all its spun glory.
– MARIE GULLARD, The Washington Examiner, Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Preview by The Gazette
“[Dvořák] was amazed by African American spirituals and dances of Native Americans,” added Angel Gil-Ordóñez, musical director of PostClassical Ensemble. “It’s a personal impact in his music, but on the other hand, he influences immensely the American composers of his time. ... We are exploring those two impacts of his stay here in the U.S.”
– CARA HEDGEPETH, The Gazette, Thursday, February 21, 2013
PostClassical Ensemble Classical Conversations on Classical WETA
PostClassical Ensemble Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz chat with Classical WETA's Marilyn Cooley about "Hiawatha Melodrama" and about the fascinating background of Dvořák's relationship with the United States and American music. Listen to the interview.