articles / Classical Californians

Classical Californians: James Conlon

Content image

Bonnie Perkinson

This week's Classical Californian is the Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, conductor James Conlon. For many years, through a project called "Recovered Voices," he's tried to shine a spotlight on music that was suppressed or prevented from having the performances that they deserved. A double-bill at LA Opera through March 17th brings together a pair of works that fall into that category, and we'll get a taste of music by those composers and more - William Grant Still, whose Afro-American Symphony was groundbreaking in the history of Black American composers getting their works performed by major orchestras; Alexander Zemlinsky, who was in Mahler's circle in Vienna, and whose works were banned by the Nazis; there are also selections by Erwin Schulhoff and Felix Mendelssohn. Tune in Wednesday at 7 pm!

He begins with some music from one of the composers on the double-bill, William Grant Still, with a selection from his Symphony No. 1, "Afro-American" -

James Conlon - 1

William Grant Still: Symphony No. 1, "Afro-American" mvt. iv

Then, he turns to the music of Alexander Zemlinsky - with the opening of his opera Der Zwerg, or The Dwarf.

James Conlon - 2

Alexander Zemlinsky: "The Dwarf" - "Flink faule Kerle!"

Alexander Zemlinsky: The Dwarf - "Das schönste Geschenk"

Alexander Zemlinsky: The Dwarf - "Sehr nur die zierliche Puppe!"

Another of his works that Zemlinsky identified with very personally retold the story of the Little Mermaid - it's Die Seejungfrau... here's the last movement.

James Conlon - 3

Alexander Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau: iii. Sehr gedehnt, mit schmerzvollem Ausdruck

Among the composers of the "Recovered Voices" series is Erwin Schulhoff... up next is the third movement from his Symphony No. 5.

James Conlon - 4

Erwin Schulhoff: Symphony No. 5, mvt. iii Allegro con brio

And to close, choral music by Felix Mendelssohn, with the final chorus from his Elijah.

James Conlon - 5

Felix Mendelssohn: Elijah, "Alsdann wird euer Licht hervorbrechen"

Published on 02.28.2024