Critic’s Choice

Wed Mar 27, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Lera Auerbach

With the cherry blossoms set to bloom next week in the District of Columbia, the National Symphony Orchestra will bring a new work to life this week. Teddy Abrams, the adventurous music director of the Louisville Orchestra, leads a program of music inspired by the natural world and the dangers of ecological harm 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Saturday.

On Saturday’s concert is the world premiere of a new work by the phenomenally talented Lera Auerbach, ARCTICA, featuring the Washington Chorus and the composer at the piano. Co-commissioned by the National Geographic Society, the piece is based on Auerbach’s visit to the Arctic and conversations with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala.

In that slot on Thursday’s concert, the Choral Arts Society of Washington joins the NSO for its maiden performance of Itaipú, Philip Glass’s 1989 symphonic cantata. The piece was commissioned as a tribute to the massive hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River between Paraguay and Brazil, which ended up causing significant environmental damage.

Both performances will include Dvořák’s overture In Nature’s Realm, a musical landscape painting portraying the composer’s summer house in the woods near Vysoká, and Sibelius’s tone poem The Oceanides. Both will also feature the NSO’s first performances of Sea-Blue Circuitry, another ocean-themed piece by Mason Bates.; 202-467-4600

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