Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

with the World Premiere of Expectans Expectavi by Abbie Betinis

June 5, 2011, 2:00 pm
Jordan Hall

New England Conservatory
30 Gainsborough Street
Boston MA 02115

Map • Phone: (617) 267-7442

The season concluded with a celebration of psalm settings, highlighted by Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, with the New England Philharmonic. Simultaneously majestic and passionate, it remains one of his most popular works. More psalm setting than a traditional symphony, the work gives equal prominence to voices and instruments. The unique orchestration replaces the violins and violas with two pianos and harp, making it sound more archaic and rhythmically potent. The Symphony reflects a renewal of faith by Stravinsky, who had recently rejoined the Russian Orthodox Church, and it inexorably builds to a climax of timeless, beatific joy.

The Chorus premiered Expectans Expectavi, its new commission by Abbie Betinis, a composer whose music has been called “superb… whirling, soaring,” and “audacious… edgy… thrilling” (Minneapolis Star Tribune).  The program also included works by Andrew Rindfleisch, Francis Poulenc and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

Boston Musical Intelligencer: “The chorus excelled.”