Clarion Call: World Premiere by Augusta Read Thomas

This Sunday, our concert at Constellation will begin with the resonance of a harp.  Not a usual occurrence for one of our Sampler Packs, but we're all the happier that the incredibly talented and gracious Ben Melsky was willing to step in and join Russ as a part of our effort to make good out of a bad situation.  Even better still, those resonating tones are the initials of Mary Louise Gorno transformed into music for cello and harp by the infinitely skillful and energetic Augusta Read Thomas.


This performance will mark public premiere of "Clarion".  Just weeks ago, it was dedicated to Gorno at a private celebration in the home of University of Chicago president Robert Zimmer.  It's a true testament to the importance of the arts at U of C (to which we can attest by our weekly visits to Hyde Park) that this work was commissioned by and performed in the president's home.  In fact, much of the history of music is music written in just such a way: to celebrate weddings, coronations, beloved colleagues…the list goes on and on.  Augusta says, regarding the traits of this work inspired by Gorno "This short work is very soulful, and graceful, like her."

At just three minutes, it is a poetic feat that Augusta has captured so many sides of this prismatic character in such a short span of time.  Her collaborative spirit as a composer, and sensitivity to what performers can achieve and capture live, allows her such striking stylistic virtuosity.  Rehearsals and composition classes with her are imbued with the bubbling energies of her music and the more we've worked with her (whether at the University or on our Ringtones project), the more her passion for exploring musical characters has inspired us.  

You can hear the public premiere of "Clarion" in all its brilliantly clear lyricism and elegant optimism this Sunday on the Frequency Series.