Review: SPCO performance of Xavier Foley’s 2019 “For Justice and Peace,” with composer as soloist

Posted on: January 19, 2022

“The snow that hit the Twin Cities kept many St. Paul Chamber Orchestra habitués firmly ensconced at home Friday,” writes Rob Hubbard in Sunday’s (1/16) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “It’s a shame that more patrons weren’t able to experience the artistry of Xavier Foley. Not only is Foley a virtuosic bassist … but he’s also a composer…. On Friday night, he brought an emotionally eloquent work inspired by the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in North America. A double concerto for violin, bass and strings, ‘For Justice and Peace’ evokes mourning, menace, striving and struggle.… The orchestra led with … the Gran Duo Concertante of Italian romantic Giovanni Bottesini [in an] arrangement for violin and bass [featuring SPCO violinist Eunice] Kim and Foley…. [In] ‘For Justice and Peace’ [Foley] showed a marvelous gift for melody … soaring into his instrument’s upper range like an operatic tenor. The work contains text rooted in the pleas of slaves petitioning courts for their freedom … Richard Tognetti’s arrangement of ‘Kreutzer’ [for] 17 string players … proved a splendid showcase … particularly the violin soloist, SPCO Artistic Director Kyu-Young Kim.” Foley’s For Justice and Peace was co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Sphinx Organization, and New World Symphony.