In the Veins of America
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
Overture to “Candide”
Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20
Symphony no. 9 in E minor “From the New World”, Op. 95
In the autumn of 1940, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears lived in Brooklyn Heights with W.H. Auden, and in the company of Salvador Dalì, Christopher Isherwood and Leonard Bernstein. Even if the war was far away, America did not satisfy the hopes of the English composer (“Everything’s a passing fad here”, he confessed). And yet, while self-exiled in Broadway, where his Candide was first staged, he learned the new techniques he would later use in his musical theatre. In the meantime, his sorrowful mood emerged in the Sinfonia da Requiem, premièred in 1941 at Carnegie Hall, the very same venue where, almost half a century earlier, Antonín Dvořák had first performed his Symphony from the New World. The American conductor James Conlon now proposes them in a programme that also includes Arvo Pärt’s Cantus, the Estonian composer’s tribute to Britten’s “unusual purity”.