Premiered in Des Moines, Iowa on 24 March 2018 at the Des Moines Civic Center, Joseph Giunta conducting the Des Moines Symphony
Duration: 11 minutes
The Final 2’30” of the composition in a live performance by students
BRIO for orchestra, a Music from the Heartland commission by the Des Moines Symphony, Joseph Giunta, Music Director and conductor, is dedicated to Carolyn (Kay) Bucksbaum – Arts Devotee, Innovator, Philanthropist and dear friend – and was commissioned as a gift from her son and daughter John Bucksbaum and Ann Bucksbaum Friedman
From Webster’s Dictionary:
let's give this celebration the brio it deserves!
vigor, vivacity, gusto, verve, zest, enthusiasm, vitality, dynamism, animation, spirit, energy;
informal pep, vim, get-up-and-go
Brio for Orchestra, a “Music from the Heartland” commission by the Des Moines Symphony, Joseph Giunta, Music Director and Conductor, is dedicated to Carolyn (Kay) Bucksbaum — arts devotee, innovator, philanthropist and dear friend — and was commissioned as a gift from her son and daughter, John Bucksbaum and Ann Bucksbaum Friedman.
Kay Bucksbaum is radiant, elegant, brilliant, expressive, graceful, fun, beautiful, generous, sophisticated, and positive. I am humbled by this opportunity to compose an orchestral work in her honor for its world premiere on Maestro Giunta’s “Apotheosis of the Dance” concert. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of the noun brio reads in part: “Let’s give this celebration the brio it deserves! — vigor, vivacity, gusto, verve, zest, enthusiasm, vitality, dynamism, animation, spirit, energy; informal pep, vim, get-up-and-go.” The title Brio hopefully captures the spirit of Kay’s magnificence, twinkle, and positive energy.
I care about craft, clarity, and passion. My works are organic and, at every level, concerned with transformations and connections. The carefully sculpted musical materials of Brio are agile and energized, and their flexibility allows a way to braid harmonic, rhythmic, and contrapuntal elements that are constantly transformed — at times whimsical and light, at times jazzy, at times layered and reverberating. Across Brio’s 11-minute duration, it unfolds a labyrinth of musical interrelationships and connections that showcase the musicians of the Des Moines Symphony in a virtuosic display of rhythmic agility, counterpoint, skill, energy, dynamic range, clarity, and majesty. Throughout the kaleidoscopic journey, the work passes through many lively and colorful episodes and, via an extended, gradual crescendo, reaches a full-throttle, sparkling intensity — imagine a coiled spring releasing its energy to continuously propel the musical discourse. Vivid, clangorous, brassy, and blazing, Brio culminates in music of enthusiastic, intrepid (almost Stravinsky-like) spirits while never losing its sense of dance, caprice, and effervescence.
Music’s eternal quality is its capacity for change, transformation and renewal. No one composer, musical style, school of thought, technical practice, or historical period can claim a monopoly on music’s truths. Commissioning new art is leap-of-faith! The commissioner does not know what they will receive. I feel profoundly fortunate for the investments made by Ann, John, Joe, and the orchestra’s musicians in my work, and I devoted my strongest, most focused efforts to composing Brio in honor of Kay.
Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International, 2 November 2018
Premiered a few months ago by the Des Moines Symphony, which commissioned the piece in honor of benefactor Carolyn Bucksbaum, Augusta Read Thomas’s well-named BRIO provided eleven minutes of effervescence to set the ball rolling. This is lithe and sparkling music that never sits down. Shanghai-born Yue Bao led it with impressive panache and much technical skill. Unfazed by the challenges that faced her in the music’s gossamer textures and inventive rhythms, she was also able to make the occasional bigger moments effective without exaggeration.
To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.