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Canadian premiere of Lera Auerbach’s “Dreams and Whispers of Poseidon”

On March 27, 2005, the American Youth Orchestra's new composition, Lera Auerbach's “Dreams and Whispers of Poseidon”, was written in 2005 to mark the 40th anniversary of the American Youth Symphony Orchestra and was premiered in Los Angeles in March 2005. On February 1, 2020, the work will be premiered in Montreal (Canada). Alexis Hauser conducts the McGill Symphony Orchestra.

Lera Auerbach once described the creation of the work in 2005 with the words:

“I was asked by The American Youth Symphony for a work to celebrate the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season, to be premiered at the opening of their concert program in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and at Carnegie Hall in New York.  I originally set out to write an entirely different work entitled "An Overture for an Unforeseeable Future", but then the disaster of December 26,2004 occurred. A friend of mine, Brigitte Feldtmann, was in the Maledives, miraculously escaping the deadly wave. Orlantha Ambrose, an AYS Outreach Program teacher, was not among the survivors. Over 200,000 lives were taken by the sea that day. The future indeed has been unforeseeable.
The power and mystery of the ocean have been uppermost in my mind in the last few months, as I have been working on a new ballet "The Little Mermaid", commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet for the opening season of the new opera theater in Copenhagen and for the bicentenary celebration of Hans Christian Andersen. But my fascination with the sea started much earlier. The ocean, with its magnetic powers of creation and destruction, endless mysteries, unimaginable beauty, bottomless darkness and mesmerizing colors, its vastness, its creatures - has been in my dreams from early childhood.
When I was a child, I knew the ancient Greek myths by heart, especially those of the Argonauts. In some ways, I lived in a double reality and some part of me was wandering somewhere on the waves aboard the Argo. Poseidon was an everyday presence (and sometimes a threat) in my life. He was real. Mermaids, half-fish, half-human chimeras were real too. They still are. In them, too, the line between destruction and creation is blurred, as the line that separates death and love.
Perhaps this fascination with the ocean partially happened because I lived in Chelyabinsk - an industrial provincial city in Russia, very far from any sea - (in fact I had never seen an ocean until I came to New York at the age of 17). The imaginary sea of these tales and myths symbolized a different world: beautiful, mysterious and powerful, at times very cruel, but much more colorful than the world around me.
In my first improvisations on the piano, at age 3 and 4, I would try to paint a story in sounds about the sea and the ship with white sails (a variation on a famous Lermontov’s poem). There would be a storm, the ship would sink and the sea would again appear as if nothing had happened. These were my first "compositions". Perhaps in some ways I am the same child, unable to wake up from the dream world of the myths, which are only too often reflected in the real life. Perhaps I am still writing the same piece after all."
(Lera Auerbach)

Canadian First Performance
Lera Auerbach,
"Dreams and Whispers of Poseidon" for orchestra
(McGill Symphony Orchestra; conductor: Alexis Hauser)

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