“Daron Hagen is an old-school composer,” writes Joseph Dalton in Thursday’s (5/7) Times Union (Albany, New York). “In other words, he’s not afraid to think big. … Given that Hagen has also written three previous works for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, music director David Alan Miller probably didn’t have to think long about which composer should be commissioned for a new work in honor of the Hudson River Quadricentennial. The nod went to Hagen, whose latest work will open Saturday’s concert at the Palace Theater, the concluding program of the symphony’s current season about exploration.” The composer says he wanted to write something about the Hudson that would still have appeal other places. “Hagen’s solution was to write a symphony—his fourth—that honored the occasion but also spoke to a larger, even universal, appreciation of rivers. Toward that end, he drew on texts by Mark Twain and Walt Whitman. … Hagen’s Symphony No. 4 ‘River Music’ is about 38 minutes long and cast in three movements. The opening draws on texts from Twain’s ‘Life on the Mississippi.’ ”

Posted May 8, 2009

Photo credit: Bill Mohn