Performance Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 8 PM

San Francisco Symphony

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
On its second concert at Carnegie Hall as part of American Mavericks, the San Francisco Symphony presents Carl Ruggles’s Sun-Treader, whose title comes from a Robert Browning poem, and an orchestration of Charles Ives’s “Concord” Sonata, inspired by New England’s transcendentalists. Ruggedly nonconformist, these works are matched with the no-less-individualistic music of iconoclast Morton Feldman.


  • San Francisco Symphony
    Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
  • Emanuel Ax, Piano


  • RUGGLES Sun-treader
  • FELDMAN Piano and Orchestra
  • IVES A Concord Symphony (orch. Brant)


Ruggles Sun-Treader
Boston Symphony Orchestra; Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor 
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

CARL RUGGLES  Sun-treader

Although Ruggles wrote a small body of music—only eight published compositions—what he left aims high, reaching for honesty and spiritual exaltation. Sun-treader is a work of potent and dramatic contrasts, containing sections of uncompromising steadiness that set off long-range accelerations, roaring rhetoric spelled by pages of serene lyricism.

MORTON FELDMAN  Piano and Orchestra

Feldman’s experiments in musical notation arose from an obsession to write music as he heard it, and what he created were works of delicate luminosity, slowly moving and defining silence. From 1971 to 1979, Feldman produced eight large-scale orchestral works that he called his “still-life titles”; one of these was Piano and Orchestra. The two sound-producing units in the work maintain distinct characteristics: The piano strikes a contemplative pose, while the orchestra usually keeps very quiet.

CHARLES IVES (orch. HENRY BRANT)  A Concord Symphony

Ives was obsessed with the riddle of the universe, and in his great “Concord” Sonata he honored four soul-mates, representatives of New England Transcendentalism, devoting a movement each to Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts, and Thoreau. Ives published the sonata in 1920, but his changes grew so extensive that he brought out a greatly modified edition in 1947. The work’s sonorities and scale seem created for a large ensemble, and they inspired maverick American composer Henry Brant to orchestrate the work.

Program Notes
Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony.
The National Endowment for the Arts is the lead donor of American Mavericks at Carnegie Hall.

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