Orpheus Chamber Orchestra world premiere, responding to pain of war

Posted on: January 18, 2017

“As part of a national tour, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will debut Richard Prior’s latest composition, ‘A Canticle of Shadows,’ on Friday at Emory University” in Atlanta, writes Jon Ross in Wednesday’s (1/18) Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The piece is a musical response to images of the war in Syria, as well as other conflicts and crises. “The New York City-based 31-piece chamber orchestra, which plays without a conductor, will also perform Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto with violinist Vadim Gluzman. Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 will round out the program. For Prior, these pictures of devastation could easily translate into a thorny, dissonant piece of music that would force the audience to confront the pain of war. Instead, Prior has used chorale sections and restrained dynamics to create ‘an emotional release of grief,’ he wrote in the program notes…. While he thought about Emory’s general audiences—a mix of students, community members and longtime art patrons—he didn’t consciously work to make the music more approachable to classical newbies…. He believes that … his job is to wrap unfamiliar musical ideas ‘with things that are somehow familiar in the tapestry of the music and then extend beyond that.’ … If done correctly, this alchemy creates classical converts.”

Posed January 18, 2017