Anchorage Symphony - Landscapes
Saturday, November 16, 2013 – 8pm
Anchorage, Alaska – October 23, 2013 – Nature has long been the artist’s muse and Alaskan’s have the privilege of experiencing that muse every day. The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra is proud to dedicate an evening to the natural wonders around us on Saturday, November 16th - Landscapes. This evening of inspiration includes the Alaska premiere of jazz masters Chris and Dave Brubeck’s Ansel Adams: America. Their symphonic tribute to the iconic photographer includes over 100 striking images of or by Adams projected above the orchestra.
When asked about this final collaboration with his father, Chris Brubeck shared, “You might think with two Brubecks writing, this would be a jazzy piece. It’s not! It’s much more of a neo-romantic piece because Ansel Adams was so deeply into Bach and the great composers. We tried very hard to write music that enhanced the grandeur of the photographs….The people who have seen the work have told me that there is a power in beautiful photographs which is awesome and even more awesome when they are huge, projected above the orchestra. There is also power in beautiful music. When you have the power of the image and the music you get something beyond, a world of exalted beauty for the senses.” In 2012, just hours after Dave Brubeck passed away, Ansel Adams: America was nominated for a 2013 Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition.
Dave Brubeck was a little hesitant when first approached about the project, but after reading Adams’ autobiography he enthusiastically agreed to partner with his son, Chris who saw strong parallels between his father and Adams. Both were rugged individualists from Northern California who grew up loving nature and music, especially the piano. At one point, early in his life, Adams felt his life path was leading him to be a concert pianist, but he later decided to devote his life to photography. Now thought of as the “Beethoven of photography”, it seems Adams chose correctly.
Adams took photography to new places with the technology and techniques available to him; much like Beethoven did for music. “The real beauty of his work is the texture of the images…hundreds and hundreds of layers”, explained local photographer Clark James Mishler, “You can tell he sat at a locale and waited for that perfect moment.” Adams seems to have had an almost other-worldly sense of when that moment would be. That moment when the rolling clouds would filter the light just right, creating a visual symphony of lights and darks, each element playing its part. When looking at Adams’ photos it’s mind-boggling to think that none of these have been digitally enhanced. He captured his magical moments with a camera that shot on 4x5 or 8x10 negatives then developed them by hand. As Mishler puts it, “he was a master in the darkroom, spending painstaking hours doing everything by hand.”
A concert celebrating the inspiration of nature would not be complete without Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. Nicknamed Pastorale, this piece was described by Beethoven as “more an expression of feeling that a tone painting.” It’s hard to imagine, but Beethoven composed this lyrical “walk in the park” while also composing his fiery Symphony No. 5. While taking long walks in the countryside, he would often stop and jot down notes on the scraps of staff paper he kept in his pocket. It’s only fitting that after being composed simultaneously, the two masterworks were premiered together. Two years later, upon reflection of his Symphony No. 6 the then deaf composer wrote to his friend, “No one can love the country as much as I do. For surely woods, trees, and rocks produce the echo which man desires to hear.”
This incredible evening of inspiration and awe also includes the charming Suite for Viola and Orchestra by Vaughan Williams, featuring ASO Principal Violist, Anne Gantz Burns. A registered nurse at Alaska Women’s Health, Anne began playing the viola in the 4th grade as part of the ASD music program and has been performing with the ASO since 1985. Born and raised in Alaska, Anne and her family enjoy camping and hiking, taking advantage of the beauty Alaska has to offer as often as possible. When asked why she chose the Vaughan Williams Anne replied simply, “because it is melodic and beautiful.”
Saturday, November 16, (8pm) in the Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Infrared headphones for the hearing impaired are available concert night from the House Manager on the Orchestra Level. Tickets (including all fees and surcharges): $25-$49/Adult; $11-$23/Youth; $22.75-$44/Senior. Military, student and group discounts available. To purchase tickets, visit the CenterTix Box Office at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts or www.centertix.net or call 263-ARTS (2787), toll free at 1-877-ARTS- TIX.