Bard Music Festival — Program 9

August 12, 2023

Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater


Program Nine marks the American Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the festival, presenting two of his late symphonies alongside other key orchestral works of the period. While drawing on his own incidental music for the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic, the Sinfonia Antartica, his Seventh Symphony, is nonetheless a fully realized modern masterpiece. Scored for vast forces including bells, organ, wind machine, and wordless women’s chorus, this darkly atmospheric work is adventurous both timbrally and harmonically. Brighter in tone yet no less sonically bold, the vividly orchestrated Eighth Symphony was recognized with a New York Critics Circle Award. These late symphonies share the program with Proud Thames, Elizabeth Maconchy’s commanding, winning entry to a Coronation Overture-writing competition; the sparkling Partita for Orchestra by William Walton, then emerging as one of the next generation’s leading lights; and Andante festivo, an earlier work by Jean Sibelius, to whom Vaughan Williams had dedicated his Fifth Symphony and, like many British composers, felt indebted.

Livestreat tickets: $20, reserve here.


August 12, 2023
Pre-concert Talk 7 PM, Concert 8 PM
Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater
Tickets start at $25


Elizabeth Maconchy (1907–94)
Proud Thames, coronation overture (1953)

William Walton (1902–83)
Partita for Orchestra (1957–58)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
Symphony No. 8 in D Minor (1955)

Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
Andante Festivo (1922/1938)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7) (1952)


Brandie Sutton, soprano
Leon Botstein, conductor
American Symphony Orchestra
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director