Musica Sacra et Profana

May 15, 2008

One wonders if Allesandro Cadario realizes how unusual it is for someone to come to New York for the first time and have a work premiered at Lincoln Center. For that’s the fortunate situation the young Italian composer-conductor finds himself in. His Cantata for Revival will have its first hearing at the Rose Theater on Monday night, performed by Musica Sacra, whose late conductor Richard Westenberg commissioned it. The new music director of the ensemble, Kent Tritle, will lead it, along with Orff’s ubiquitous and emphatically non-sacred Carmina Burana, in its version with two pianos and percussion.

Part of the novelty of the new work lies in its instrumentation: seven cellos, piano, percussion, mixed double choir, three soloists (soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone), and eight tuned crystal glasses. Its text is Biblical and in English.

In a conversation with the Milan-based Mr. Cadario, his pride in his origin in Gian Carlo Menotti’s hometown was expressed, as was his admiration for Leonard Bernstein. While I didn’t question him about how much his own style derives from these 20th-century masters, that may be in the back of the mind as the new work is unveiled on Monday. That and how it would feel to be 29 and first visiting a world capital to hear one’s own new work. Buona fortuna indeed!

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