THE CASTLE OF HEAVEN
February 3, 2017
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Inspired by the title of Sir Elliot Gardiner's book on Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, MUSIC FROM THE CASTLE OF HEAVEN is inspired more by the poetic title than the music of Bach. Music emanating from heavenly and cloud-like structures is the premise for a piece that could express a journey into the heavens or paradise. Cast into an arch-like fantasy, three main musical ideas are at play: organ music, liturgical music, and the pitches B-A-C-H. Large chordal sonorities that dynamically ebb and flow open the work and become a recurring gesture meant to evoke the massive sound world of a cathedral organ and the amorphous ever-changing structure of clouds. A Gregorian-like chant melody, presented infragments, is gradually reveals itself from beginning until fully unveiled in the finale. The third musical idea is the name B-A-C-H (B-flat) from which pitch material for a secondary motive is derived. The BACH motive is consistently woven into work in different permutations as a loose connection with the original book title. While there is no concrete story or program at play, the music is meant to express a journey through the realm of clouds, angels and light.
Perusal recording available by request.