Program Notes

Stravinsky’s The Firebird

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 7:30 PM

Enjoy a musical tapestry that will reflect the heroes, dreamers, and trailblazers of NOLA music with Jay Weigel’s Water’s Gravity, a celebration of the musicians and culture bearers of New Orleans, along with Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

Conductor

Carlos Miguel Prieto

LPO Musicians

Jon Cleary, vocalist

Judith Owen, piano

Judith Owen, vocalist

Phillip Manuel, baritone

Sarah Jane McMahon, soprano

Pedro Segundo, percussion

Joshua Johnson, percussion

Composers

Igor Stravinski (1882 – 1971) Suite from The Firebird (1919 revision)

  • Introduction and Dance of the Firebird
  • Dance of the Princesses
  • Infernal Dance of King Kastchei
  • Berceuse
  • Finale

David Anderson (b. 1962) Concerto for Double Bass, Strings, and Harp

  • Allegro moderato
  • Largo
  • Allegro agitato

David Anderson, double bass

David Anderson (born 1962) Concerto for Double Bass, Harp, and Strings (1997)

First performed by the LPO on January 14, 1999

Most recently performed on January 14, 1999

David Anderson joined the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans in September of 1996 after winning their Principal Bass audition. Prior to that appointment, he performed and recorded regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among others. Since 1994, he has served as Principal Bassist in the Britt Festival Orchestra in Oregon.

He has performed extensively with many diverse ensembles including, the Aspen Festival, Chautauqua (NY) Festival, Colorado Philharmonic (NRO), Colorado Music Festival, the LaSalle Quartet, and as a soloist with Richard Stoltzman, Gene Bertoncini, Nigel Kennedy, Bobby McFerrin, Doc Severinsen, and many others. He has served as Bass Instructor for the Music School at Loyola University and also on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists (ISB) as bassist/composer. In 1984-85, Anderson took lessons with the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius in New York, who firmly encouraged the idea of being able to cross over between classical and jazz.

Anderson began his pursuits in composition in 1984, recognizing that the solo repertoire for his instrument was limited. The influence of Frank Proto, one of his finest teachers, also led him to composition. Since then, his published work has expanded to other solo instruments, as well as for chamber orchestras and small ensembles. Anderson won first prize in the 1995 Allen Ostrander International Trombone Composition Competition, sponsored by Ithaca college, for Elegy for Van, a work for solo bass trombone and brass choir, which he composed as a tribute to the late Lewis Van Haney, former trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. Several years ago, Anderson completed a concerto for bass trombone, commissioned by his father, Edwin Anderson, former bass trombonist with the Cleveland Orchestra. His Concerto for Double Bass, Strings, and Harp, commissioned by Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Bassist Hal Robinson, was premiered at the ISB Convention in June of 1997 and performed on the 1997/98 subscription series of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. His current work includes a second symphony, as well as several commissions.

Jay Weigel – Water’s Gravity (2021 – 2022)

  • Preamble
  • Forever Pulled
  • Alternate View
  • On the Streets
  • It Is to Be
  • Port Street Blues
  • Port in a Storm
  • At the Edge
  • Make Time Gravitate

Jon Cleary, vocalist

Judith Owen, piano

Judith Owen, vocalist

Ben Heart, violin

Phillip Manuel, baritone

Sarah Jane McMahon, soprano

Pedro Segundo, percussion

Joshua Johnson, percussion

Many actions gradually guide inspiration elusively, giving an understanding sometimes. My actions that guide my inspiration for composing comes in many guises.  When Carlos Miguel Prieto approached me to write a follow to A New Orleans Concerto, for Orchestra that he and the LPO premiered in 2018, I was intrigued, daunted, and excited.  Beginning a piece, and ending a piece, is for me, the most difficult part of the process.  He wanted a piece that reflected the culture of our city.  That culture as I see it is a very deep and varied one.  From opera to brass band, many styles informed the composition of this work, some obvious, others more subtly. In order to realize the inspiration I had for the piece, I needed to invite several of my friends to contribute and collaborate.  These guests brought their unique styles to this composition.  I am grateful to all of them for sharing their talents this evening with me. That is the backdrop that led gradually led me to begin and end this piece.

The title Water’s Gravity refers to the irresistible pull that New Orleans continues to have on people everywhere.  It might be said that the city is built on water, the term gravity in the title refers to the pull New Orleans continues to exhibit over people worldwide.  How the land the city was built on continues to shape this attraction fascinates me. 

The work is structured in 9 sections, six large sections – Forever Pulled, Port in the Storm, Alternate View, Port Street Blues, It is to Be, On the Streets; and six smaller ones – Preamble, The Pearl, Make Time Gravitate.  The four of the large sections feature our guests, the movements with Jon Cleary, (Port Street Blues) and Judith Owens (Port in the Storm) are collaborations.  Alternate View is a duet featuring R&B/Jazz singer Phillip Manuel and opera singer Sarah Jane McMahon.  Percussionist Pedro Segundo joins the orchestra on several works but is featured on Make Time Gravitate, which was conceived as a short hi-hat concerto, but in the hands of Pedro – well is a short Pedro concerto. Finally, Josh Johnson, from Tank and Bangas, sets the groove for the final movement, On the Streets.  I am deeply indebted to the members of the orchestra, Carlos, Amanda, Renee, and all of the wonderful guest musicians for participating in the concert.  I hope this piece makes tonight an enjoyment, and I’ll let you make tomorrow great.

Need some new playlist inspiration? Listen to us on Spotify!