• David Bruce: Upstairs, Downstairs at Carnegie Hall

    In an uncommon alignment of concert programs, composer David Bruce's work forms a core element of performances in both Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage and Zankel Hall on Tuesday evening, October 29.

    Upstairs—Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage—the San Diego Symphony makes its Carnegie Hall debut, with pianist Lang Lang joining music director Jahja Ling and the orchestra for a performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on the program—and receiving its New York premiere—is Bruce's work Night Parade.

    Downstairs—Zankel Hall—Robert Spano, perhaps best known as the adventurous music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, accompanies soprano Jessica Rivera and mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor in a program that includes songs by Gounod, Debussy, Mendelssohn, and ... David Bruce. The American-born English-raised composer's That Time with You—a Carnegie Hall commission—also receives its New York premiere this evening. Here, Dr. ToniMarie Marchioni gives us a brief insight into Bruce and his That Time with You.

    With a career blossoming on both continents, David Bruce is currently associate composer for the San Diego Symphony and composer-in-residence with the Royal Opera House in the UK. That Time with You is the fourth Carnegie Hall commission he has received, following Piosenki (2006), Gumboots (2008), and Steampunk (2011).

    One of his most recent projects was the chamber opera The Firework-Maker's Daughter, a collaboration with librettist Glyn Maxwell. After this fun, warm, and family-friendly opera, Bruce writes that he "felt in the mood for something a lot darker." Drawn to the large body of sorrowful songs in the repertory, from John Dowland through the blues, Bruce approached Maxwell to generate the texts heard tonight. The end result was four evocative poems, "The Sunset Lawn," "That Time with You," "Black Dress," and "Bring Me Again." Bruce explains that the poems contain an elaborate metaphor, perhaps seeming like love songs, but actually suggesting "the voice of Death or Time, or of somebody who has passed away ... Perhaps they are voices from beyond the grave."

    Enjoy Ensemble ACJW performing David Bruce's Gumboots.