In Thursday’s (2/24) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes, “Music can be so fundamentally inexplicable that composer James MacMillan doesn’t even try to account for moments in his new Violin Concerto that might leave the most seasoned Philadelphia Orchestra patrons saying ‘What?’—though more out of curiosity than confusion. The MacMillan concerto, to be given its U.S. premiere at the Kimmel Center on Thursday, has such event status that it’s also part of the orchestra’s appearance at Carnegie Hall next week. … Still, one had to ask, upon hearing the Violin Concerto’s 2010 world premiere on radio last spring, why does the third movement have the orchestra counting aloud—emphatically—in German? [MacMillan] laughed. ‘I don’t know where that’s come from,’ he said Tuesday, having just arrived from his home in Glasgow. ‘It’s a mystery thing that came in a dream or two—a couple of daydreams as well as night dreams. I’m not trying to be obtuse. I would honestly tell something were there something to tell.’ … A memorial for his deceased mother, the Violin Concerto is typical MacMillan for embracing all manner of musical events.”

Posted February 24, 2011