On August 13, Breckenridge smashes the bounds of tradition with “The Safekeeping of Memory,” a program of revolutionary works by some of the biggest names in contemporary classical music— including David Lang’s “World to Come,” performed by virtuoso cellist Maya Beiser, and BMF concertmaster Kathryn Hatmaker’s rendition of Anna Clyne’s “Rest These Hands.”
The program invites guests to reflect on the human connection to the natural and spiritual world—an idea conceived of by Steven Schick, this year’s artistic partner with the BMF’s Festival at the Fringe series.
“To us, musical fringe means different combinations of musicians and instruments, ones you might not find in a traditional orchestra setting,” said Tamara Nuzzaci Park, the BMF’s new executive director. “It allows us to take our vision of diversity to the next level.”
The concert opens with Igor Stravinsky’s “Octet for Winds” followed by “World to Come,” a piece Lang composed specifically for Beiser. Lang describes the piece as “a kind of prayer” in which “a cellist and her voice become separated from each other, and they struggle to reunite in a post-apocalyptic spiritual environment.” Beiser is a world-renowned cellist, hailed not only for her musical performance but also her “rock-star charisma.”
Following intermission, Hatmaker delivers Clyne’s deeply personal piece on solo violin, enhanced by Josh Dorman’s stop-motion animations and a live reading of a poem by Clyne’s mother. The concert closes with “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland.
The selections are geared toward breaking down the lines between classical music—often conceived of as “civilized” and thus separate from nature—and humankind’s place in the world.
“What if, when we performed Aaron Copland’s rustic ‘Appalachian Spring,’ we heard it as a part of nature, imagining the famous tunes as coming from a particular landscape, from particular people?” Schick asks. “What if we heard David Lang’s elegiac ‘World to Come’ not just as a new piece by a notable composer, but as his love song for lower Manhattan and his grief at seeing it in flames in 2001?”
By featuring the works of modern composers, the BMF and BIFA hope “to challenge and educate audiences, to present what is important to the field of music, and share reflections on modern society through music,” Park said. “We can create a musical experience here in Breckenridge where visitors are not only inspired by mountains and mountain culture, but also great art.”