On January 22, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project presents the Boston premiere of Paul Moravec’s Brandenburg Gate as part of its winter program “The New Brandenburgs.” Music director Gil Rose conducts the concert at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Commissioned in 2006 by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Moravec’s Brandenburg Gate was part of the ensemble’s “New Brandenburg Project,” which set out to add to the chamber orchestra repertoire by asking six contemporary composers to write new works inspired by J.S. Bach’s original classic concertos.
Gil Rose offers some insight into the score. “Kinetic energy — the thrill of motion, the suspense and anticipation that comes from a tightly wound machine of interlocking parts, improvisation-like expressiveness — these are characteristics of Bach and Paul Moravec intuitively understands and runs with in his own music. Paul’s sense of drama and joy, and the plain fact of his skill at composition, makes for music that is complex but also speaks at a visceral level. What makes an orchestra great hasn’t really changed from Bach’s time to our own. Paul’s music is beautiful, human and exciting.”
Moravec describes his three-movement, 15-minute work. “The Brandenburg Concertos are among Bach’s most joyous creations. As part of the ‘New Brandenburg’ series, I wanted to project a similar quality of convivial energy. The title, Brandenburg Gate, suggests a portal through which we enter Bach’s world of exuberant invention. It also refers to the actual monument in Berlin, which I associate primarily with the astonishing images of the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. It seemed a joyous moment indeed not only for Berliners, but for all of us watching on television around the world…this piece evokes the spirit of that historic moment….”
Upcoming: The Dallas Chamber Symphony performs the composer’s Chamber Symphony in February, and later in the season Moravec has two world premieres including the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s first performances of Music, Awake! in April, and the Minnesota Opera presents the composer’s newest opera The Shining in May.