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An Atlas of Deep Time
Aug 13 2023
Benedict Music Tent
Aspen, US
Cost: $45-90

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS: An Atlas of Deep Time
CHAUSSON: Poème, op. 25

Music inspired by geologic time and the sea bookend Chausson’s lush and sensuous Poème featuring Dorothy DeLay Prize Winner Hayoung Choi.

An Atlas of Deep Time by John Luther Adams was inspired by his “desire, amid the turbulence of human affairs, to hear the older, deeper resonances of the earth… Like the geologic layers of rocks beneath our feet, the densities and textures, the instrumental and harmonic colors are always changing, yet somehow the substance always seems to be the same… The earth is 4 billion 570 million years old. An Atlas of Deep Time lasts roughly 46 minutes, which equates to about 100 million years per minute. At that tempo, the entire history of the human family is represented in the dying reverberations of the last 25 milliseconds of this music.”

Ernst Chausson wasn’t a prolific composer, but his was the most distinctive voice in French music before the advent of the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel. The Poème for violin and orchestra was inspired by a short story by Turgenev, one of the composer’s favorite authors. Two friends, one a painter and one a musician, are in love with the same woman. When she chooses the painter, the rejected musician travels in the East, returning with a mysterious wine and an Indian violin he uses to play “the song of love happy and triumphant." And as you probably guessed, the woman falls for the musician. Chausson, a modest, gentle man whose works were sometimes abused and more often ignored, was astonished at the ovation at the work’s premiere and kept repeating, “I can’t get over it.”

La Mer, Debussy’s compelling and shimmering portrayal of the ocean, was inspired by childhood memories of the sea at Cannes, summers on the Normandy coast, a terrifying storm he experienced in a small fishing boat, Turner’s paintings, and Japanese seascape prints.

Discover the artistry of this year’s Dorothy DeLay Prize Winner in this varied program!


Benedict Music Tent
960 North 3rd Street
Aspen, 81611

Phone: (970) 925-3254

His music perfectly echoes the landscape he loves: impersonal, relentless, larger than human scale, yet gorgeous, a quiet chaos of colors, suffused with light. It’s not a climate everyone could live in. But for those who want to bathe their ears in an aural aurora borealis while staying warm inside, it’s a spiritual odyssey well worth taking. - Kyle Gann
john luther adams
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