Music by Philip Glass
Dennis Russell Davies, Piano and Conductor
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
1 Movement I 6:01
2 Movement II 16:30
3 Movement III 6:12
A new musical signal from the Tyrol is making itself heard, which can be understood word-wide and has at the same time an unmistakably regional flair. Due to an initiative of the brand management company "Tirol Werbung" (Tyrol Tourist Board), which also commissioned the piece, the New York composer Philip Glass used Tyrolese song themes for his Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
The Tyrol itself can boast several musical landmarks: First, there is the 1484 adaptation of the folksong "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen ..." ("Innsbruck, I have to leave thee...") by the Flemish-born Innsbruck court musician Heinrich Isaac, which he turned into a musical testimony of both town and country.
Leopold Knebelsberger then in 1844 composed the song "Zu Mantua in Banden ..." ("In Mantova, in fetters ...") about the independence fighter Andreas Hofer, which was to become the Tyrolese anthem. At the beginning of the 19th century finally the "national singers from the Zillertal, a Tyrolese valley south-east of Innsbruck, toured cities from St.Petersburg to London with Tyrolese folk songs as their "merchandise". This triggered a musical fashion craze "à la tyrolienne", which in turn influenced composers like Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Baptist Vanhal, Anton Diabelli und Ludwig van Beethoven in their adaptations of Tyrolese folksongs.
In the era of global networks it is possible to convey geographical, societal, and cultural characteristics in global forms. Regionalisms enter into super-regional contexts, without losing their special quality. Philip Glass is one of the few contemporary composers who communicates with his audience across many stylistic boundaries and in various media. His music is played in rock clubs as well as in concert halls. His unmistakable style with repetitive rhythmic and melody patterns reaches people around the world via his film soundtracks, and he influences many musical trends from techno to avantgarde. Introducing pop music to symphonic pieces and joining diverse musical cultures, he has made traditional opera a mainstream form of multimedia theatre once again.
The cosmopolitan Philip Glass has repeatedly studied certain ethnologies. Indian ragas and his co-operation with the sitar player Ravi Shankar have had a lasting effect on his style, which has developed into a unique sound language in repetitive patterns. For his piece for choir and orchestra Itaipú, Glass studied the culture of the Guaraní Indians who live close to a dam on the Paraná at the border between Brazil and Paraguay. For his soundtrack for Martin Scorsese's film Kundun, finally, Glass used Tibetan horns and cymbals.
While staying in the Tyrol, Glass studied sound documents and sheet music of Tyrolese folk-music. In the Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra he used original folk-music material for the first time directly and not just for merely atmospheric purposes. He bases the first movement on a song about the Holy Virgin which dates back to 1820 and originates from Alpbach, a village south-east of Innsbruck. This is the song text: "Maria hilf doch mir, es fleht dein Kind zu dir. Du bist es ja, die helfen kann: so nimm dich, Mutter, meiner an. Hilf, Maria hilf, o hilf, hilf Maria hilf, o hilf!", which translates roughly as: "Mary, mother of Jesus, help me, your child is crying out for help to you. You are the one that can help, please look after me. Help me, Mary, help me.....!". The song's theme precedes the concert almost completely in its own harmonisation on the piano, with the two bars for "es fleht dein Kind zu dir" ("your child is crying for help to you") left out. The theme of this song about the Holy Virgin recurs in sequences of Glass's repetitive pattern technique throughout the first movement. The composer thus combines the ethnological aspect with variations on the classic concerto mode. A sequence of three notes from the original melody forms the basis of the slow and lyrical second movement, in which yearning for idyllic nature and spiritual powers make themselves felt. The communicative factor of concertos is reflected in the dialogic and repetitive elements of the first and the final movement.
The Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra had its world premiere at the Tyrol Festival "Klangspuren" in Jenbach on 22nd September 2000. Since then it has been touring the world as a musical ambassador of Tyrol in the repertoire of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Extracts from it accompany official Tyrol promotional events in Austria and abroad, and are the signation for films and commercial spots about Tyrol. The short film "Tirol — Land im Gebirg" (Tyrol — Mountain Country), commissioned by Tirol Werbung and Cine Tirol, joins fascinating scenes by the Austrian documentary film-maker Georg Riha with the second movement of the Tirol Concerto by Glass in a very harmonious manner. This ten-minute film has won several awards at international film festivals and has been appraised by many people, because the "moving images and the moving music about Tyrol, the country the soul yearns for, soothe the soul!"
— Rainer Lepuschitz
Original music composed by Philip Glass. Performed by Dennis Russell Davies (Piano and Conductor) and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.
Produced by Michael Riesman and Kurt Munkacsi for Euphorbia Productions, Ltd.
Tirol Concerto was commissioned by the Festival Klangspuren with support of Tirol Werbung (Tyrol Tourist Board) and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Recorded at the Mozartsaal, Liederhalle, Stuttgart, November 1-2, 2002. Engineer: Peter Laenger, Tritonus Musikproduktion GmbH. Mixed at The Looking Glass Studios, New York, November 7-8, 2002. Engineer: Hector Castillo. Post-production coordinator: Kara Bilof.
Project manager: Bettina Schlorhaufer/mtm — markenmanagement gmbh. Graphic concept: Ulla Fürlinger, Tirol Werbung/mtm markenmanagement gmbh. Text: Rainer Lepuschitz (translation: Margit Ozvalda). Photos: Tirol Werbung/Rudolf Rother, Robert Fleischanderl. Distribution (Austria): Lotus Records, Kirchplatz 6, A-5110 Oberndorf. Made in Austria by kdg mediatech AG.
Special thanks: Philip Glass, Josef Margreiter (CEO of Tirol Werbung), Dennis Russell Davies, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Heribert Schröder, Anselm Rose, Sabine Rodenhäuser, Michael Riesman, Kurt Munkacsi, Jim Keller, Cat Celebrezze, Rachel Grundfast, Ulla Furlinger, Robert Trasser, Claudia Knab, Michaela Kölle, Johannes Köck, Georg Riha, Robert Fleischanderl, Rainer Lepuschitz, Konrad Weber, Maria-Luise Mayr, Thomas Larcher, Tim O'Donnell, Georg Huber, Elsbeth Elsinger, Harald Tautscher, Christine Frei, Michael Dietz.