Composer Amanda Harberg’s Hall of Ghosts, written for solo piccolo, opens this episode. Of the work, written at the height of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, Harberg commented, “I have never felt such a need for music that communicates comfort, healing and spirituality.” The evocative five-minute piece invites listeners to imagine an empty concert hall slowly returning to life with the piccolo as a musical guide. Harberg adds, “I imagined the piccolo's music would chase away the spirits and call forth the return of live music.” CSO Piccolo Jennifer Gunn had the idea to add a dancer to this performance and Harberg supported this variation on the original concept for the piece.
Gunn joins dancer Alyssa Allen from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in an interpretation filmed in Orchestra Hall and created with input from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago choreographer Jessica Tong and CSO photographer Todd Rosenberg. The enduring power and beauty of the music of J.S. Bach, whose birthday is recognized on March 21, is celebrated in this episode with performances of the Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6. Musicians from the CSO’s string sections and guest musician Mark Shuldiner (harpsichord) are featured in these performances. Acting Principal Viola Li-Kuo Chang and Weijing Wang (viola) are soloists in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. Between the two concertos by Bach is a selection of works for brass written by the 16th -century Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli and performed by members of the CSO brass section. Originally written and performed in the balconies of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, this set of Gabrieli works includes O magnum mysterium and several of his “canzoni” for four and eight players.
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Free, on-demand streaming of Women’s History Month video playlist selections available on CSOtv throughout March 2021. More info at cso.tv.