Abels: A Great Job

Global Warming does a great job of musically addressing the issues embedded within the title.”

On April 15, Tobin Stewart conducted Global Warming with the Montana State University Symphony on its spring concert.

And so, conductor Tobin Stewart highlights the core of Michael Abels 8-minute orchestral work as Stewart joins the Montana State University Symphony for the orchestra’s May 2019 South American tour to Chile. Stewart will conduct concerts in Ovalle, Santiago, and Valparaiso. Global Warming was commissioned and premiered by the Phoenix Youth Symphony in 1991. It was inspired by the historic events of the end of the Cold War era and the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

At the time of the premiere, Abels noted “Living in Los Angeles, I’ve been able to learn about music from around the world simply by opening the window; among my neighbors are immigrants from every corner of the world. I was intrigued by the similarities between folk music of divergent cultures, and decided to write a piece that celebrates these common threads as well as the sudden improvement in international relations that was occurring [at the time].”

Tobin Stewart comments on the orchestra’s tour. “I chose [to program] Michael Abel’s Global Warming because it represents part of the melting pot of our country with a mix of different cultures and their music. Most would easily understand the climate change aspect of ‘global warming,’ and Abels paints a stark, hot, dry climate well, in the opening and closing of the piece. I find the other meaning of ‘global warming’ (the mixing of cultures) that he describes in his notes to be even more skillfully handled with the musical lines. The way in which distinct Irish and Middle Eastern melodies are presented, layered and then blended into one, is clever….”

More Abels news: May also brings the release of Cedille Records’ (CDR 90000 187) world premiere recording of Abel’s Winged Creatures. The 13-minute, double concerto for clarinet and flute soloists was commissioned by Cedille Records for brothers Anthony (New York Philharmonic principal flute) and Demarre McGill (Seattle Symphony principal clarinet). They premiered it in June 2018 with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras led by Allen Tinkha, who conducted the event as part of a featured concert during the League of American Orchestras Annual Conference. Cedille Records president James Ginsberg notes, “It has been my pleasure to [have already produced] musical projects with Michael Abels, including his toe-tapping Delights and Dances and thought-provoking Global Warming…So I knew what he was capable of. I am greatly looking forward to [releasing] the premiere recording of Winged Creatures.” Scheduled release date is May 10, via disc or download. Details here.