My Program: Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”
Andriessen: De Staat
Cage: Cheap Imitation for orchestra
The case for my program: Four very different 20th-century responses to the writings of a Greek philosopher who lived 2300 years before their time, but whose influence continues into our century. Bernstein’s violin concerto is a tone poem on Plato’s discussion of love, from which the term “Platonic love” is derived. Satie’s cantata is an eerily calm and beautiful meditation on Socrates, as described by Plato. Cage’s Cheap Imitation was indirectly influenced by Plato in that it is a remix of Socrate; in this program, Cage’s wisps and strands of unanchored melody serve as the flickering shadows cast on the wall of Plato’s metaphorical cave, revealing a distorted glimpse of Socrate. In Andriessen’s De Staat, Plato’s text describes the dangers of certain types of music; Andriessen writes “dangerous music” by bouncing music back and forth virtuosically between a divided orchestra, and by invoking the energy and fury of rock music, the “dangerous music” of Andriessen’s time.