Our first rehearsal is today. I’m anxious … and a bit nervous, as this is an entirely new opera to all of us (to most everyone, really, since it’s only been done a couple of times). There’s a lengthy article in the Merc. You might want to check it out!
Carlson was interested, though the work took time. In 2000, he visited St. Petersburg and heard a men’s chorus performing the Czar’s Hymn, used by Tchaikovsky in the 1812 Overture. Carlson employs it as a “fate motif” in “Anna.” He also heard the bells of Kazan Cathedral: “It’s next door to the train station where Anna was supposed to have killed herself,” he says, “and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m putting that in.’ I specified three tubular bells with the ends sawn off to create quarter tones to simulate the sounds of the cathedral.”
Carlson describes the opera as entirely tonal (though without key signatures) and “pretty” — while drawing on modern compositional techniques, including serialism. Some people can’t hear a melody anywhere in it, he jokes, while others find it so emotional and melodic that it’s “anachronistic.”
Together with the flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and contrabassoon, it covers the position of the bass and tenor instrument of the orchestra.
Maybe it’s just me, but the way I’m reading this it seems as if all the instruments are covering “the position of the bass and tenor instrument of the orchestra”. But I have been known to read this incorrectly, so there’s that ….
And if they are including English horn and contrabassoon, why aren’t they including piccolo and bass clarinet (and other clarinets, for that matter!).
I read it online. I’ll leave out a link; don’t want to be embarrassing anyone.