The wcfsymphony takes the stage with flair in this week's Symphonies of Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. Special guest pianist and Iowa native Conor Hanick joins the orchestra to perform John Adams Century Rolls. Inspired by the edgy and rhythmic sound of piano rolls on a player-piano, the piano concerto quotes composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin, and Fats Waller amidst the musical image of an orchestra "aligned amongst the cogs and wheels of a bustling rhythmic machine."
Artistic director Jason Weinberger picks up his clarinet to solo on Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint. An exploration of phasing and rhythmic pulsation, Jason plays along with a recording of 10 other clarinet and bass clarinet parts to create perceptions of change in an unchanging musical web. The concert closes with Ravel's Bolero. This piece features a simple melody, repeated over and over in different combinations of instruments to create a palate of colors accompanied by an unbelievable crescendo. The broadcast opens with Beethoven's Wellington's Victory. Commissioned by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel, an inventor of mechanical instruments and the early metronome, Beethoven's work commemorating the British victory over French forces in Spain in 1813 features an expanded brass and percussion section imitating the battle itself. Tune in to Iowa Public Radio's Symphonies of Iowa on Sunday, February 2 at noon and Monday, February 3 at 7 p.m. for the wcfsymphony's Opening-Night Gala.