My first BSO concert of the season is coming up: a performance of Sir Michael Tippet’s oratorio A Child Of Our Time under the direction of Sir Colin Davis. The work, a response to the Nazi persecution of the Jews, particularly Kristallnacht, in the days leading up to the Second World War, alternates highly chromatic and difficult choral passages with settings of African-American spirituals. While on first blush the description sounds too “high concept” for comfort, the choice of spirituals is appropriate: the texts of the spirituals evoke images from Old Testament (i.e. Jewish) history as a response to slavery, particularly “Go Down Moses” and “Deep River” (“my home is over Jordan”), and the juxtaposition of the spirituals with the texts about persecution brings things full circle.
Rehearsals with the chorus have been good so far. We start orchestra rehearsals next week, and performances are at the end of the month (the Mozart Posthorn Serenade is also on the program), on the 27th, 28th and 29th. I hope some of my Boston area readers can make one of the shows.