Truth in Our Time

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Orange Mountain Music is proud to announce the new album TRUTH IN OUR TIME performed by Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra under the direction of conductor Alexander Shelley.

Shelley states:

“A few years ago, we thought about the role of our Orchestra as a national ensemble. We asked ourselves what are the big themes of our age—climate change? Autocracy vs. democracy? Pandemics? Identity politics? Freedom of speech?
Behind each of those important issues lay the question of our perception of truth. Where do we get our information and how do we judge its veracity? Is there such a thing as objective truth?”
The album is a musical and poetic rumination on the concept of truth. Beginning with an exercize in perception with Nicole Lizée’s short “Zeiss After Dark” which “evokes the cinematographic effect of the Zeiss lens, used to film intimate scenes lit only by candles.” This is followed by artist Yao’s poem “Strange Absurdities,” a piece which challenges the listener to cultivate our common humanity.

Humanity is at the core as the album continues with Shostakovich’s Symphony No.9 from 1945. Shostakovich, whose very humanity was challenged by the oppressive authorities of his time, composed his Ninth Symphony in the final year of World War II. Where the expectation from those authorities was that Shostakovich would delivery a grand rousing victorious symphony in the vein of Beethoven’s Ninth or Mahler’s Ninth. Instead, what Shostakovich delivered was a symphony in scale and content which didn’t make the cut – so much so that it was later banned.

In the same year, 1945, on the other side of the world – a composer who had fled the Europe because of the war, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, composed his Violin Concerto for Jascha Heifetz. After fleeing Austria, Korngold landed in Hollywood and composed a number of the greatest film scores ever written – and through exclusive arrangement with the studios – he was allowed to take music from those scores for his own use in his own concert music. The reputation of the Violin Concerto has only grown over time and remains one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire, so much so this new recording featuring the great James Ehnes, represents the violinist’s second recording of the work.

The concept of truth, what was true for Shostakovich or Korngold, seems to be an issue of personal artistic integrity. The same is true with this world premiere recording of Philip Glass’s Symphony No.13. Commissioned to honor the memory of journalist Peter Jennings, in a period of strife worldwide for journalist, Glass himself pushed back on the idea of music having the ability to express any definite ideas about truth. Glass’s Thirteenth Symphony was composed in the period of 2020-22, largely during the period of lockdown according to what was happening with the worldwide pandemic. After a series of large-scale symphonic works, Glass’s new symphony is one of his shortest at only 22 minutes and belies a calmness and reflection, in all three of its movements.

Glass states:

“What can a piece of music express about the idea of truth? I basically put these ideas aside. But when we consider a figure like Peter Jennings, a Canadian by birth, an American by choice, rather than making a proclamation about “what is truth,” for the composer we are on much better ground when we talk about: “This is the music that I Iisten to, this is the music that I like, and this is the music that I write.” And we leave it at that.”
Catalogue number OMM0166
Barcode 0801837016628
Release date 26/04/2024
Label Orange Mountain
Format CD
Number of discs 1
Artists Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra
Ehnes, James
Composers Korngold, Erich Wolfgang
Glass, Philip
Shostakovich, Dmitri
Lizée, Nicole
Conductors Shelley, Alexander
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