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A New Concert Opener by Christopher Rouse

(April 2014)

Christopher Rouse’s introspective Supplica gets its world premiere in Pittsburgh

Christopher Rouse is no stranger to orchestral concert openers. Among several of the composer’s works in this genre, his blissful and bursting Rapture (2000) regularly sees performances across the globe, and the eagerly awaited Thunderstuck (2014) will be premiered later this year by the New York Philharmonic. The most recent addition saw the concert stage earlier this month: the world premiere of Rouse’s Supplica (2014) by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Juraj Valcuha.

Of the new work, Rouse says: "The title means, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘supplication’ in Italian. There is no doubt in my mind that this work has a strong relationship to my Fourth Symphony, completed earlier in 2013. However, it is more of a challenge to define precisely what that relationship might be. It certainly is not a ‘completion of’ nor ‘afterthought to’ the symphony. It is also not some sort of ‘antipode’ to this same symphony. Perhaps it might best be described as a ‘companion piece.’ Both were works I felt an inner compulsion to write, but both also possess meanings for me that must remain personal. This certainly does not mean that either piece is intended to be ‘impersonal’—rather that what I hope will be heard as both an intimate and an impassioned communication in sound must mean to each listener what it will, without further intercession or guidance from the me."

Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony, Supplica is approximately 10 minutes in duration. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform the work April 4–6 and the Pacific Symphony gives the US West Coast premiere September 25–27.

Other upcoming performances of Christopher Rouse’s works include the New York premiere of his 90-minute Requiem (2002), performed by the New York Philharmonic (where he is the Kravis Composer-in-Residence) at the 2014 Spring For Music Festival on May 5. The New York Philharmonic will also give the world premieres of Rouse’s Symphony No. 4 (2013) June 5–7 and Thunderstuck (2014) October 9–14.

For more information about Supplica, click here.

From the Press:
"The piece ultimately fades to silence -- a moving ending in line with the rest of the work. The layers suggested more opportunities to listen to "Supplica" would be rewarding." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The piece was dominated by the strings of the orchestra, and was filled with lush, shifting harmonies...Its slow melody created a sound that suggested the supplication hinted in the title." — Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Photo: Jeffrey Herman

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