subject for Ravinia's One Score, One Chicago initiative this year,
Ravinia's Music Director James Conlon suggested The Mermaid by the Viennese composer Alexander Zemlinsky. A recording of this
undeservedly neglected masterpiece can be heard here in
a performance conducted by Maestro Conlon. James is unquestionably
one of the most acclaimed interpreters of Zemlinsky's music today,
having received the 1999 Zemlinsky Prize for his untiring efforts to
restore Zemlinsky's music to the international repertoire.
But we didn't stop there. In addition to being a celebration of Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fairy tale as well as an expression of Zemlinsky's unrequited love for Alma Schindler (see The Mermaid As Muse Essay), The Mermaid is the story of an aqueous creature. This got us to thinking about how many works of music have been about, or inspired by, water. When re-examining the classical repertoire, I was put in mind of Samuel Coleridge's famous line about "Water, water everywhere." We accordingly decided to expand our One Score considerations to encompass other great "water works," many of which are being performed at Ravinia this summer (click here for a list of performances), some of which are explored in this resource guide.
The subject matter of water also suggested a number of projects being done in partnership with other great Chicago institutions, including the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago Botanic Garden and Kohl Children's Museum. As is typical of Ravinia, we also decided to create some new "water works," including a piano work commissioned from jazz icon Ramsey Lewis and an evening of new choreography inspired by the subject of water. We hope you will find all of this music to be as refreshing as a cool drink of water on a balmy summer day. At Ravinia, of course!
President and CEO
As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, it is my pleasure to introduce the Ravinia Festival's One Score, One Chicago program.
Since 1904, Ravinia has entertained thousands of residents and visitors. Like the innovative One Book, One Chicago initiative, One Score, One Chicago is designed to unite the citizens of our city in appreciation of a single provocative work of art. This year One Score, One Chicago is thematic in nature and will explore the ways that water has inspired great music.
The music will be around you all summer. You can hear the great tunes at Ravinia or pick up a recording at the Chicago Public Library or book store. Join me and your fellow Chicagoans on a journey of musical discovery. I am sure it will be enlightening and rewarding.
Richard M. Daley
Mayor of Chicago
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