Monday, February 16, 2009

Songs Harbison Loves to Sing

This weekend, Camerata San Antonio performs music by Andre Previn and John Harbison. On the program is "Songs America Likes to Sing"...

John Harbison: I’m doing a piece for small chamber ensemble which is based on, really variations of various kinds of the most familiar songs I could think of, it’s called Songs America Loves To Sing. The variations are actually quite intricate but the fundamental material is extremely well known and I suppose it comes out of my frequent encounters with Bach cantatas which are based on chorales which at the time were very familiar with the audience. So I’m doing a similar thing, they are in a sense I think of them of chorale preludes because the idea of the chorale prelude is a very familiar cantus in very unfamiliar environment.

John Clare: Any hints to these familiar songs you’re chorale preluding?

JH: Well it ranging very ordinary, occasional like Happy Birthday to Aura Lee, and a number of other songs, really I think the basic criterion is familiarity, that something be quite well known, hoping that the presence of these canvases will guide the listener through what will sometimes is a quite an unusual environment that I sort of imagine for them.

JC: That sounds really fun!

JH: I’m enjoying it, it’s again somewhat of a found object idea.
Camerata San Antonio plays Friday night in Boerne and Sunday afternoon at Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio. I'll give a pre-concert talk at 2:20pm, before the 3:00pm start time.

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