Joshua Bell and IRIS at GPAC: Foreign Affairs


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Stops? There will be no stops.

All stops are pulled on Saturday, April 12th, as the IRIS Orchestra burns down its 2013-2014 season at GPAC with a three-part jaugernaut of a program, including a performance by world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell.

For starters, there is John Adams' The Chairman Dances, a 13-minute piece that served as a run up to the composition of his 1985 opera Nixon in China. Conceived as a foxtrot danced by Chairman Mao and his head-rolling trophy wife, Jiang Qing, aka Madame Mao, it's a terse piece that is decidedly modern but not in the shrieking-terror sort of way. It's a bustling dance number!

The second piece, Édouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, features Grammy-winner Bell, currently the music director at the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in London and winnner of the Avery Fisher Prize. Bell is an international superstar and plays a Stradivarius from the Cremona luthier's golden age.

Finally, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade rounds out the program and allows conductor MIchael Stern to put the orchestra through some rich harmonic passages over the theme of the Thousand and One Nights. A classic in the symphonic repertoire, Scheherazade features a rich, Russian palette that is redolent of the colors and swirls of Saint Basil's Cathedral. 

Have a listen below as Stern's esteemed father, Isaac, puts the Lalo piece through its paces. A recording of Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Orchestra through the Adams piece follows. Finally, the Vienna Philarmonic renders Scheherazade. This is a big finale to a great season.

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