Christopher Theofanidis - The Wind and Petit Jean
The experience: enchanting, majestic, beautiful
The Wind and Petit Jean was commissioned by your ASO musicians, first premiering in 2014. Composer Christopher Theofanidis was inspired to write this piece from the rich local history of Arkansas, particularly about the Legend of Petit Jean.
This story begins in the 1700s with a young nobleman named Chavet who embarked on a journey to explore the Louisiana Territory. Chavet was engaged to a beautiful woman named Adrienne, and he promised to marry her upon his return. Adrienne wanted to marry right away and accompany him, but Chavet refused due to the danger and hardship of the journey. Undeterred, Adrienne disguised herself as a cabin boy and was given the nickname Petit Jean (French for Little John). The legend takes a tragic turn as Petit Jean falls gravely ill on Petit Jean Mountain, where she had spent her last days with Chavet, and her identity is discovered. The narrative unfolds with her confession, request for forgiveness, and a poignant burial overlooking the river.
This piece truly captures the haunting and captivating essence of Petit Jean's legend, infusing the composition with the imagined voice of Petit Jean carried by the wind that still sweeps through the Ozarks.
Jonathan Bailey Holland - Halcyon Sun
The experience: whimsical, mysterious, captivating
Jonathan Bailey Holland’s Halcyon Sun was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Holland noted that “the Underground Railroad has always sparked visions of dark tunnels and pathways, with people moving from desolation to an unknown new life. The end of a journey is often symbolized by an image of light. For those traveling through the Underground Railroad, the light at the end of the tunnel was freedom and a new life.” He chose to focus on the end result of the journey as a starting point for his captivating piece.
Ludwig Van Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D Major (feat. Kerson Leong)
The experience: graceful, regal, cheerful
Ludwig van Beethoven is widely considered one of the greatest composers of all time. But despite his prolific output, Beethoven only wrote one violin concerto, which has been the most celebrated and beloved work. The concerto begins with five repeating notes in the timpani, resembling a gentle but persistent heartbeat, and it becomes the recurring theme. The second movement is a serene and heartfelt Adagio that contrasts the drama of the first movement. The final movement brings a lively and spirited conclusion to the concerto, featuring syncopated rhythms and dance-like themes.
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