Review: La Jolla Symphony premiere of Celeste Oram’s concerto for violin and three voices

Posted on: December 12, 2019

“Most composers sit in the hall to experience their premieres, but not Celeste Oram,” writes Christian Hertzog in Tuesday’s (12/10) San Diego Union Tribune. “On Saturday, Oram sang from a wing of UC San Diego’s Mandeville Auditorium, part of an offstage vocal trio designated as Teen Angels. It was the world premiere of her commission for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, ‘a loose affiliation of alleluias’ … subtitled a ‘concerto for violin and three voices’ [with violinist] Keir GoGwilt…. Most of his part consists of verbal directions, with a few sections in which Oram gave him harmonies over which to create his own melodies…. GoGwilt and conductor Steven Schick made their entrances, and as the applause died down, a minor key harmonic progression from the offstage vocalists was revealed, a six-chord loop on top of which GoGwilt soloed. Two percussionists stage left and right snapped their fingers on beats 2 and 4…. Lyrics from Paul Simon’s song ‘Boy in the Bubble’ turned up [and Oram] quotes [from] Giovanni Gabrieli’s partial setting of the Requiem…. The music is an intriguing collage, and its theatricality mysterious yet convincing.” John Adams’s Harmonium and Schumann’s Violin Concerto with GoGwilt also were on the program.

Posted December 12, 2019