John Paul Corigliano is one of the most prominent contemporary composers in the United States today. His deeply philosophical song cycle One Sweet Morning for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, composed in 2011, was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai symphony orchestras to mark the 10th anniversary of September 11th. “I didn’t want this work to become an abstract orchestral music canvas trying to depict grim events. If the music were without text, every sound of timpani, drums or brass in the orchestra would prompt the thought that it was a plane crashing into a building,” said Corigliano. For the four- song cycle, the composer selected lyrics from different ages, countries, and cultures that describe events with an equally gruesome ending. The work begins with the A Song on the End of the World set to the poem by the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz; the second is an excerpt from the 16th hymn of Homer’s Iliad; the third is set to the poem by the 8th-century Chinese poet Li Po; and the text of the final song belongs to the hand of the American poet Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg. His poem One Sweet Morning concludes the cycle in a dream about a world without war: “Sing me no sad amen, but a bright encore! / For out of the flags and the bones buried under the clover, / Spring will bloom / Peace will come / One sweet morning.”
Together with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Justina Gringytė, one of the most famous and internationally acclaimed Lithuanian opera soloists, performs the emotionally demanding Corigliano’s song cycle. Canadian Keri-Lynn Wilson, appearing in world’s opera houses, graces the podium.
ORCHESTRA: LIETUVOS NACIONALINIS SIMFONINIS ORKESTRAS
CONDUCTOR: KERI-LYNN WILSON
MEZZO-SOPRANO: JUSTINA GRINGYTĖ