Pines of Rome

Sat. April 20, 2024 – 8:00 PM

Civic Center Music Hall

Concert Details

Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor
Sō Percussion

  • BOULANGER: D’un matin de printemps
  • WAGNER: Siegfried: Forest Murmurs
  • LANG: Man Made
  • SMETANA: Die Moldau
  • JOHANNSSON: IBM 1401 Processing Unit
  • RESPIGHI: Pines of Rome

Sō Percussion​, percussion


“Our Pines of Rome concert will be really exciting. Music of pulsating living nature vs the miracles of human engineering.  Do you remember feeling utterly peaceful standing in the middle of a thick green forest? Brimming with life. A miracle. Or the sense of majestic flow sitting at the banks of a broad river? And then compare it with your daily wonder of technology, from the intricate workings of your computer to simply using “google search.’

Richard Wagner was deeply connected to the German landscape. His forest murmurs describe a forest not only full of life but trenched in history.

From here we switch to the percussion concerto by American composer David Lang. ‘Man Made’ is a total joyful piece marrying the traditional orchestra with ideas from the Blue Man Group. Music happens with man-made traditional instruments and made objects of everyday life.

The second half will start with an audience favorite, Smetana’s The Moldau which turned out to be the first symphonic work I ever heard as a kid. I was in elementary school. We were sitting in the balcony in the hall of the botanical garden in Frankfurt, Germany listening to our opera orchestra. Beautiful.

I love the music of Icelandic composer Johann Johansson. We performed his ‘Fordlandia’ a couple of years ago. ‘IBM 1401 Processing Unit’ is slow emotional minimalism. In our fast and goal-oriented world it feels good to me to slow down. And Johann’s music slows us down.

And finally, the last piece of the program, Italian composer Respighi’s most famous work, the Pines of Rome. Again, like in Wagner’s Forrest Murmurs, its’ about nature, but also about the deep history associated with it. Far gone memories of a time long past. Yet, a lingering presence through the famous pine trees of Rome.  The last movement, wow.”



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Program Book