Critic’s Choice

By David Fleshler

William Schuman

William Schuman

Many South Florida listeners may not know that a classic of mid-20th-century American music received its world premiere in Miami.

William Schuman’s New England Triptych was first heard on October 28, 1956, in a performance by the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre Kostelanetz, who had commissioned the work. Schuman’s composition will be revived Friday at UM’s Gusman Hall by the University of Miami’s Frost Symphony Orchestra, in a concert that will also feature two new works by American composers.

New England Triptych, inspired by the music of the 18th-century American composer William Billings, is one of the best-known American works from the last century. Although the palm trees and sunshine of Miami might have seemed an odd setting for the premiere of a work about New England, the work itself is an atmospheric portrait of another place and time, joyous, nostalgic and composed in a manner that gives a unique blend of 18th- and 20th-century sensibilities.

Also on the program will be two world premieres. James Stephenson’s there are no words was inspired by the 2015 shooting deaths of nine churchgoers at an African-American church in South Carolina by a white supremacist. Richard Moriarty’s song cycle, We That Wait, is about women during the Civil War and features mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon as soloist.

Thomas Sleeper will conduct the concert, which is the closing event for this year’s Festival Miami.; 305-284-4940.

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Wed Feb 8, 2017
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