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Corigliano, John

Bill McGlaughlin welcomes one of America’s foremost composers as Exploring Music’s co-host and programmer.  Corigliano, son of the longtime concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, has written many works that are now considered to be part of the standard repertoire for American violinists, clarinetists and orchestras. During the '80s, with the onslaught of AIDS deaths surrounding Corigliano, he expressed his profound loss in his Symphony No. 1 with a tarantella that evokes feelings of complete madness. This program celebrates Corigliano’s 80th birthday (February 16).

Program 1

Corigliano discusses his high school muse, as well as his father who was reluctant to play Sonata for Violin and Piano, a piece Corigliano wrote specifically for his parents, and that would soon persuade Corigliano Sr. to perform at its New York premier after noticing its growing fame.

Corigliano highlights a both disappointing and encouraging phone call from famous violinist Jascha Heifetz. Corigliano challenges himself with tight deadlines, and Bill jokes of leaving Schirmer publishing studio with 35 pounds of music, all belonging to John Corigliano.

Corigliano: Kaleidoscope
John & Richard Contiguglia, pnos.
CRI 659

Corigliano: Fern Hill (excerpt)
Dessoff Choirs/Tritle
Dessoff Choirs 1101

Corigliano: Sonata for Violin and Piano, finale
Corigliano Sr., v.; Votapek, p.
CRI SD 215

Corigliano: Elegy (excerpt), Tournaments
St. Louis Symphony/Slatkin
RCA 09026-68100-2
3:21, 11:44

Corgliano: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, finale
St. Louis Symphony/Slatkin; Douglas, p.
RCA 09026-68100-2

Program 2

Bill airs Corigliano's live world premier of "Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra," which includes a tribute to the composer's father. Corigliano experiments with his travels to Morocco and Egypt, whose exotic sounds can be heard in his "Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra." The composer then demonstrates to Bill a pattern that is prevalent in his "Etude Fantasy No. 3," by transitioning between fifth and third intervals up and down the keyboard. 

Each of Corigliano's pieces has its own anecdotal value. 

Corigliano: Creations, Part II (excerpt)- The Creation of Adam and Eve
I Fiamminghi/Werthen; McKellen, n.
Telarc 80421
5:28, :18

Corigliano: Gazebo Dances Pt. IV, Tarentella
John & Richard Contiguglia, pnos.
CRI 659

Corigliano: Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra, finale
American Symphony Orchestra/Akiyama; Lucarelli, ob.
RCA Victor 60395-2-RG

Corigliano: Etude Fantasy No. 3- 5ths to 3rds
Tocco, p.
Sony 60747

Corigliano: Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
New York Phil/Bernstein; Drucker, cl.
New York Philharmonic 9701

Program 3

Uncertainty and hallucination are prevalent themes in this program. Corigliano continues to expand his repertoire of styles by writing a piece for Ken Russell's film, "Altered States," in which he sounds out a scene of hallucination. During the '80s was an onslaught of AIDS deaths surrounding Corigliano who lost many friends. He represents the population's loss of coordination caused by the virus in "Symphony No.1," by breaking up instrumental voices only to reconnect them measures later, causing a feeling of complete madness. And here, the true meaning of tarantella appears. 

Corigliano: Concerto for Clarinet (excerpt)
New York Phil/Bernstein; Drucker, cl.
New York Phil 9701

Corigliano: Altered States: Original Soundtrack (excerpt)
RCA 3983-2

Corigliano: Pied Piper Fantasy (excerpt)
Eastman Phil/Effron; Galway, fl.
RCA 6602-2

Corigliano: Tarentella fr. Gazebo Dances (excerpt)
John & Richard Contiguglia, pnos.
CRI 659

Corigliano: Symphony No. 1, II, III & IV
National Symphony Orchestra/Slatkin
RCA Victor 09026-68450-2
8:05, 18:24

Program 4

James Levine suggests to Corigliano that he write an opera, and he spends 12 years writing a genre he never would have otherwise wished to write. His opera brings back the haunting French Revolution with the sound of the dead Marie Antoinette's voice, who laments her own beheading. Then, Corigliano challenges himself to a guitar concerto that brings back the innocence of youth by combining his own composition with just three notes taken from the original music of the Troubadours. 

Corigliano: The Ghost of Versailles (excerpts)
Garcia, s.; McKesson, t.
8:05, 5:44

Corigliano: Troubadors
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/Wolff; Isbin, g.
Angel 67672

Corigliano: String Quartet, II
Cleveland Quartet
Telarc 80415

Program 5

Corigliano describes the sound of the Mannheim Rocket, made famous by the Mannheim Orchestra. The Mannheim Rocket is characterized by a sound that rises slowly, growing louder and louder until it reaches a climax and begins to descend and crash.

Corigliano has won a Pulitzer Prize and an Oscar. He earned the Pulitzer for his second symphony. He later wrote a score for "The Red Violin," a film directed by Francois Girard, in the style that his father would have liked to play. Look out for more from Corigliano. 

Corigliano: The Mannheim Rocket
Helsinki Phil/Storgards
Ondine 1039-2

Corigliano: Symphony No. 2, IV & V
Helsinki Phil/Storgards
Ondine 1039-2

Corigliano: The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra
Philharmonia Orchestra/Salonen; Bell, v.
Sony 63010


The Exploring Music streaming website is supported by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and the Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.  
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