Review: Ginastera and Fauré, With a Nod to Prince

Julian Wachner
The New York Times

Ludwig van Beethoven and Alberto Ginastera are the composers at the heart of Trinity Wall Street’s 15-concert festival, Revolutionaries. But Thursday’s lunchtime performance at Trinity Church inadvertently became a tribute to another musician who shook up conventions: Prince.

The conductor Julian Wachner announced that musician’s death at midpoint in the program, after a psychedelic rendition of Ginastera’s outlandish “Cantata Bomarzo” (Op. 32). Noting the respect that Prince commanded in classical music circles, Mr. Wachner announced that the musicians, who included the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the instrumental ensemble Novus NY and the baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert, were dedicating their ensuing performance of Fauré’s Requiem to his memory.

Ginastera’s cantata delves into the fractured psyche of Pier Francesco Orsini, a 16th-century military leader and art patron who commissioned a garden filled with grotesque sculptures that in their hedonistic absurdity seem to prefigure Surrealism. Ginastera was so taken with the novel “Bomarzo,” by Manuel Mujica Láinez, that he composed an opera based on it, as well as a cantata, scored for baritone, speaker and percussion-heavy orchestra.

Adding incongruity to the proceedings on Thursday, the speaker was Trinity’s vicar, the Rev. Phillip Jackson. Unperturbed, he recited the lurid ravings of Orsini, who eventually, half-mad and believing himself immortal, entered a cave called Hell’s Gate and “lifted the chalice heavily and drank the milky liquid that would win eternity for me.”

Read the rest of the review here