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Musical America Review: In Seattle: A Premiere, a Rarity, and a Quick Change on the Podium

The following are excerpts from Thomas May's review in Musical America:

"An unexpectedly last-minute round of musical chairs reshuffled the lineup for one of the most unusual and original programs of the Seattle Symphony season. As a double harp concerto, Hannah Lash’s The Peril of Dreams, an SSO commission, in itself represents a rarity in the orchestral literature. That it was paired with the seldom-programmed Gaelic Symphony by Amy Beach made the occasion all the more notable."

"Then . . . came the announcement on the morning of the world premiere of Lash’s piece, Nov. 18, that Dausgaard had withdrawn due to illness. He was replaced by Lee Mills, named SSO Associate Conductor at the start of Dausgaard’s tenure in 2019."

"For the originally scheduled 2020 premiere, Dausgaard had planned to combine The Peril of Dreamswith Leonard Bernstein’s frenetically eclectic U.S. bicentennial cycle Songfest. But Beach’s Gaelic Symphony offered a magnificently satisfying counterpart to the Lash. Mills emerged in his element here, showing an obviousfondness for this epic, unjustifiably neglected score. Along with a compelling dramatic arc, he elicited characterful playing for the many solos that enrich it. Freshly inspired by the example of Dvorák’s New WorldSymphony, the 27-year-old Beach — who was largely self-taught as a composer thanks to sexist strictures — achieved a milestone in American music history. Mills got off to a gripping start in the fiery opening movement and never lost sight of the large sweep of Beach’s canvas, even when dwelling on its fragrant details."

For the full article, please go to Musical America (paywall)


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