WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW CHORAL WORKS
PREVIEW OF PETER ROSEN’S DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of America’s premier summer destination events, honors composer Gordon Getty during its tenth season which runs from July 17-26, 2015. Events include the world premiere of five new Getty choral works, a preview of Peter Rosen’s forthcoming documentary on the composer, a performance of Getty’s chamber music, and Angel Heart, which includes compositions and arrangements by Mr. Getty.
The ten-day Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends the world’s finest classical, jazz, opera, theater and dance artists with curated culinary, wine and fitness pursuits, staged in Napa Valley’s most iconic settings.
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 5 p.m.
Beethoven’s 9th and Getty World Premiere at Lincoln Theater
Russian National Orchestra
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
The evening features the world premiere of new choral works by Gordon Getty, and Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony. The world premiere works are: Ballet Russe, for chorus, harp, piano and strings after a poem by John Masefield; There was a Naughty Boy, for chorus and chamber orchestra after a poem by John Keats; For a Dead Lady, for chorus and orchestra after a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson; Beauty Come Dancing, for chorus and chamber orchestra with lyrics by the composer; and Those Who Love the Most, for chorus and orchestra after a poem by Sara Teasdale.
Mr. Getty states, “All these texts were set at the Salzburg Festival two years ago. I had written the text to Beauty Come Dancing at the Festival del Sole just before. The dance theme makes it a natural companion to Masefield’s ‘Ballet Russe.’ There a ballerina dances to Chopin piano accompaniment. I aimed for tunes he might have written but didn’t. Although Masefield’s verse and mine scan in iambic pentameter, I set both to waltzes. That can be tricky.
“John Keats heads my poetic pantheon, with Masefield a close second. I would choose the same two, in the same order, for comic poetry. Keats’ ‘There Was a Naughty Boy’ is a delicious example.
“E. A. Robinson, like Masefield, paid no court to modernism. ‘For a Dead Lady’ and ‘Eros Tyrannos’ build like Bach fugues. No poet surpasses him for cadence and the longer breath. Sara Teasdale’s ‘Those Who Love’ shows the equal power of a lighter touch.”
Monday, July 20, 2015, 6 p.m.
Chamber Concert at Mont La Salle Chapel
A preview of Peter Rosen’s highly-anticipated documentary about the life of composer, businessman and philanthropist Gordon Getty, and a chamber ensemble from the Russian National Orchestra performs Getty’s Four Traditional Pieces.
Sunday, July 26, 2015, 1 p.m.
Community Concert: Angel Heart at Lincoln Theater
The festival presents its annual free Community Concert at Lincoln Theater, featuring Angel Heart, a music storybook with original music by award-winning composer Luna Pearl Woolf and original text by bestselling children’s author Cornelia Funke. A tender children’s story about a girl with a broken heart who meets a guardian angel, Angel Heart features performances by cellist Matt Haimovitz, his all-cello ensemble Uccello, and celebrated vocalists Frederica von Stade and Lisa Delan. Woolf’s original score is interwoven with familiar songs and lullabies by Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Irving Berlin, Lennon-McCartney and more.
For a full schedule of Napa Valley Festival del Sole’s concerts and events please visit www.festivaldelsole.org.
Festival del Sole 2015 Passes
About Gordon Getty
The music of the American composer Gordon Getty has been widely performed in North America and Europe in such prestigious venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Vienna’s Brahmssaal, and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and Bolshoi Theatre, as well as at the Aspen, Spoleto, and Bad Kissingen festivals. In 1986, he was honored as an Outstanding American Composer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was awarded the 2003 Gold Baton of the American Symphony Orchestra League.
Getty has recently devoted considerable attention to a pair of one-act operas, Usher House (derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher) and The Canterville Ghost (after the Oscar Wilde tale). The former was premiered in June, 2014 by the Welsh National Opera, the latter was premiered by the Leipzig Opera in May, 2015, with additional performances in June. Getty’s first opera, Plump Jack, involving adventures of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 1984 and has been revived by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, and London Philharmonia, among other ensembles. In 2011 the Munich Radio Orchestra and an international cast conducted by Ulf Schirmer performed a new concert version of Plump Jack, which was simulcast on Bavarian Radio and released on CD by PentaTone Classics.
Getty, who studied at the San Francisco Conservatory, has produced a steady stream of compositions since the 1980s, beginning with The White Election (1981), a much-performed song cycle on poems by Emily Dickinson. It has been recorded twice—by Kaaren Erickson for Delos and by Lisa Delan for PentaTone—and has been performed in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and the Morgan Library (in New York), the Kennedy Center and National Gallery of Art (in Washington, D.C.), and the Hermitage Theatre (in St. Petersburg, Russia), among many other venues. His three-song cycle Poor Peter (2005) was included by Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin on their PentaTone recital And If the Song Be Worth a Smile, which features songs by six contemporary American composers.
Poetry from the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries has often inspired Getty in his vocal compositions. His choral works Victorian Scenes (1989, to texts by Tennyson and Housman) and Annabel Lee (1990, to a poem by Poe) were premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Michael Tilson Thomas led the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in Annabel Lee in 1998 and 2004, on the latter occasion also premiering Getty’s Young America (2001), a cycle of six movements for chorus and orchestra to texts by the composer and by Stephen Vincent Benét. Joan and the Bells, a cantata portraying the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, has been performed widely since its 1998 premiere, notably in a 2004 revival in St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle, under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev. In 2005, PentaTone released a CD of Getty’s principal choral works up to that time, performed by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting) and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and Russian National Orchestra (conducted by Alexander Verdernikov). Getty has recently completed choral works based on Keats’ La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl, and an original poem that he modeled on Masefield, The Old Man in the Night.
Although most of Getty’s works feature the voice, he has also written for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo piano. In 2010, PentaTone released a CD devoted to six of his orchestral pieces, with Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and in 2013 followed up with a CD of the composer’s solo-piano works played by Conrad Tao. Currently in preparation is a PentaTone CD of his chamber music, which will include a string-quartet version of his Four Traditional Pieces, a work that was performed in a string-orchestra arrangement by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in 2012. Other recent performances of particular note featured his ballet Ancestor Suite, which in 2009 was given its premiere staging, with choreography by Vladimir Vasiliev, by the Bolshoi Ballet and Russian National Orchestra at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, and was then presented at the 2012 Festival del Sole in Napa, California.
Of his compositions Gordon Getty has said: “My style is undoubtedly tonal, though with hints of atonality, such as any composer would likely use to suggest a degree of disorientation. But I’m strictly tonal in my approach. I represent a viewpoint that stands somewhat apart from the twentieth century, which was in large measure a repudiation of the nineteenth and a sock in the nose to sentimentality. Whatever it was that the great Victorian composers and poets were trying to achieve, that’s what I’m trying to achieve.”
Getty’s music is published by Rork Music.
About Napa Valley Festival del Sole
A celebration of the art of life, Festival del Sole has put Napa Valley on the map as one of the world’s leading cultural destinations. The 10-day summer festival blends exceptional music, theater and dance with the region’s fine wine and cuisine. Each July, the festival presents exclusive engagements by renowned artists and emerging talent from around the globe, gastronomic adventures at stunning wineries, resorts and estates, free community concerts, yoga in the vineyards and, new this year, a 5K and 10K run benefitting Napa County youth arts education programs.
A nonprofit organization governed by a board of prominent vintners and local leaders, the festival is dedicated to enriching the region’s cultural and economic vitality, and to supporting numerous educational initiatives – from nurturing young talent through its Bouchaine Young Artists Series, to presenting free community concerts, to awarding major grants to local schools and arts organizations.
Festival del Sole is produced by Napa Valley Festival Association in partnership with IMG Artists. The festival’s landmark Tenth Season takes place July 17-26, 2015.