Concert Review: Baltimore Symphony premieres work on Harriet Tubman

Posted on: September 27, 2011

In Sunday’s (9/25) Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith writes, “In addition to such things as new recording contracts and a nationally recognized education program, Marin Alsop’s influence as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra can be seen in the programming each season. She typically weaves connective threads through concert repertoire. For 2011-12, that thread involves commemorating extraordinary women, including Joan of Arc in November. This weekend, Harriet Tubman is the focus, via the premiere of a work by James Lee III, a Morgan State University professor whose finely crafted music has been gaining increased exposure nationally. The 12-minute ‘Chuphshah! Harriet’s Drive to Canaan’ was greeted warmly by the audience Friday night at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the program will be repeated Sunday afternoon. ‘Chuphshah’ (Hebrew for ‘freedom’) provides a whirlwind portrait of Tubman’s life and struggles, with quotations from vintage tunes that provide guideposts for listeners. … On Friday, Alsop led the BSO in a strongly etched account of the work. Jane Marvine played the English horn solo—Lee uses that soulful instrument to represent Tubman—with impressive warmth.” Also on the program were Dvorák’s Cello Concerto with recent MacArthur Fellowship winner Alisa Weilerstein and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pathétique.”

Posted September 27, 2011