Aspen Music Festival and School presents Violin Concerto (Procession) in Livestream at AMFS Virtual Stage, Aspen, CO

Friday, July 26, 20245:30pm


OUTI TARKIAINEN: The Ring of Fire and Love
MISSY MAZZOLI: Violin Concerto (Procession)

SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 43

Tune in for a free broadcast, live from the Klein Music Tent.

Welcome back the amazing Jennifer Koh in Missy Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto, a work composed for her after a decade of previous collaborations. Koh premiered the work in 2022 in a performance conducted by Aspen Conducting Academy alumna Gemma New. Subtitled “Procession,” the work is inspired by medieval rituals developed during the Plague. The Washington Post described it as “an unsettling work that opens like a trapdoor, or the moment you fall asleep… Like Vaughan Williams, Mazzoli taps into and transforms a hymnal history—albeit with a more “messed-up” (her words) twist. Mazzoli conjures penitential processions, “melting hymns,” spells cast over broken bones and a conclusory ascent to the heavens.”

Two Finnish composers bookend Mazzoli’s concerto. Outi Tarkainen’s 2020 piece The Ring of Fire and Love refers to the volcanic belt that surrounds the Pacific Ocean in which most of the world’s earthquakes occur. The term is also used to describe the bright ring of sunlight around the moon during a solar eclipse. The same expression also describes the moment when a woman feels the baby’s head passing through the pelvis as she gives birth. In the composer’s words, The Ring of Fire and Love is about “this earth-shattering, creative, cataclysmic moment they travel through together.”

Bringing the program to a luminous finish is Sibelius’s most popular—and sunniest—symphony. Could it have resulted from a friend’s advice to leave Finland and winter in Italy? Many listeners, especially among the Finns, insisted the work was a graphic portrayal of the Finnish struggle against Russia, a program Sibelius vehemently denied. He described his creative process “as though the Almighty had thrown the pieces of a mosaic down from the floor of heaven and told me to put them together.” The transcendent and triumphant finale offers the listener a glimpse of that heaven.

Discover exciting new works by woman composers and be uplifted by a glorious post-Romantic masterwork!