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On the Transmigration of Souls

On the Transmigration of Souls

On September 11, Vector Wellington Orchestra will perform the New Zealand premiere of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls.

Conductor Marc Taddei calls it “the first masterpiece of the new millennium”.
“It’s one of the most profound works ever written. The work won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2003 and in 2005 the premiere recording won three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition.”

American Composer Adams calls the massive work for large orchestra, choir, children’s choir and pre-recorded sounds, a “Memory space”.

“It’s a place where you can go and be alone with your thoughts and emotions. The link to a particular historical event – in this case to 9/11 – is there if you want to contemplate it. But I hope the piece will summon human experience that goes beyond this event.

“Transmigration means ‘the movement from one place to another’ or ‘the transition from one state of being to another.’ But in this case I meant it to imply the movement of the soul from one state to another. And I don’t just mean the transition from living to dead, but also the change that takes place within the souls of those that stay behind, of those who suffer pain and loss and then themselves come away from that experience.”

This concert commemorates all souls lost in world tragedies, in what promises to be a night of deeply affecting music. Vector Wellington Orchestra will precede the Adams work with two older masterpieces: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Piano Concerto no 25.

The Beethoven is a one of the most famous works in the orchestral literature, and a good match for the Adams, says Taddei.

“It is a work that for me defines the concept of transmigration,” Taddei says.

The piece is famous for the endless invention Beethoven uses to transform his musical ideas, like living things, from one state to another.

Diedre Irons will play the final concerto from Mozart’s miraculous year of 1786, when so many of his most beloved masterpieces were written. This concludes the VWO’s mini-cycle of Mozart piano concertos.

On The Transmigration of Souls

Diedre Irons, Piano
Marc Taddei, Conductor
Orpheus Choir
The Choristers of the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul

Beethoven: Symphony No 5 in C minor
Mozart: Piano Concerto No 25 in in C Major, K 503
Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls


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