Nashville Symphony to Perform and Record Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Conquest Requiem” November 17 through 19
Performance also features Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, Nashville Symphony Chorus and soloists Jessica Rivera and Andrew Garland
Nashville, Tenn. (October 19, 2022) – Nashville Symphony announces further details surrounding an evening of two unforgettable masterworks. Performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (the “Pastoral” Symphony) and the live recording of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Conquest Requiem will take place November 17 through 19, featuring the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Symphony Chorus and soloists Jessica Rivera and Andrew Garland. Tickets are on sale now and available at nashvillesymphony.org/pastoral.
The music of two groundbreaking composers separated by more than two centuries have been paired together for an incredible evening of music. Step inside a magical world filled with sparkling brooks, singing birds and merry folk dances when Giancarlo Guerrero leads Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, the great composer’s charming ode to nature and rustic delights. Then, orchestra, chorus and all-star vocal soloists fill the stage for Gabriela Lena Frank’s extraordinary Conquest Requiem, a poignant reflection on Spain’s conquest of the Aztec Empire inspired by the true story of Malinche, the young Nahua woman who played a key role in shaping the history of Western civilization.
Many of Frank’s works involve some kind of story in the form of a narrative or character. She created the Conquest Requiem, among her most ambitious scores to date, during her tenure as composer-in-residence with the Houston Symphony under music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. In this work, the composer juxtaposes the traditional Roman Catholic Mass for the dead with decisive historical events and characters from the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire during the early 16th century. These performances will be the first time the work has been performed since its Houston premiere.
Yet rather than focus on the standard narrative as told by the victors, the Conquistadores, Frank and her longtime collaborator, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and poet Nilo Cruz, craft a story from the perspective of the conquered.
“Much has been written of the violent meeting of the Old and New Worlds that produced the Americas… [and] the stories of ordinary people are easily swept away but for the efforts of creative imagination,” said Gabriela Lena Frank.
The Conquest Requiem homes in on the figure of Malinche, a young Nahua woman who was enslaved by the invading Spaniards and eventually became the mistress of Hernán Cortés. Malinche – sung by soprano Jessica Rivera – reflects on the Conquest not as a heroic epic, but as a devastating tragedy. The complexity of her own feelings, including remorse, mirrors the contradictory facets of her reputation.
Combining three languages – the Latin used in the Requiem liturgy; Nahuatl, the classical language of the Aztecs; and new verses in Spanish by Nilo Cruz – Conquest Requiem evolves the Requiem form through unconventional and innovative storytelling that explores imperialism, reconciliation, and the lives affected throughout.
“Although the stories are a couple of hundred years old… they keep repeating themselves. The names, the places, the characters may change, but the stories are basically the same,” said Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. “As artists, as musicians, as a symphony orchestra, we have a great duty to make sure that these stories don’t get lost. And what better way to keep them alive than by performing music that commemorates, honors and reminds us of the events that have shaped what the world looks like today.”
Great seats are available starting at $29 (while supplies last, additional fees apply), and the Symphony’s Soundcheck program offers $10 tickets to students in K-12, college, and grad school.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Nashville Symphony Chorus
Jessica Rivera, soprano
Andrew Garland, baritone
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Tucker Biddlecombe, chorus director
Thursday, November 17 at 7:00pm
Friday, November 18 at 8:00pm
Saturday, November 19 at 8:00pm
Schermerhorn Symphony Center | 1 Symphony Place | Nashville, TN
Ticket Link: nashvillesymphony.org/pastoral
Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”
Gabriela Lena Frank – Conquest Requiem – Live Recording
Full program notes and artist bios can be found at nashvillesymphony.org/pastoral.
Tickets for Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony may be purchased:
– Online at nashvillesymphony.org/pastoral
– Via phone at 615-687-6400
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording, and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. With more than 140 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, along with an extensive selection of education and community engagement programs. The Nashville Symphony has released 40 internationally distributed recordings on Naxos, which have received 27 GRAMMY® nominations and 14 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. The orchestra has also released recordings on Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and New West Records.
In addition to support from Metro Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Symphony is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Nashville Symphony is also supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.