Sirota American Pilgrimage in World Premiere
It was to a packed and enthusiastic house at the Manhattan School of Music that the American String Quartet gave the world premiere of Robert Sirota's American Pilgrimage, his second work in this medium and a companion piece to his earlier Triptych, the quartet first performed and recorded by the Chiara String Quartet but also in the repertory of the ASQ that commissioned the new work. In addition to the the Sirota, the program also included Haydn’s Op. 76, No. 1 in G and, after intermission, the Beethoven Third "Razumovsky" Op. 59, No. 3.
In stark contrast to Triptych, the 2002 memorial to 9/11, American Pilgrimage is a musical panoply of the diverse American landscape, both scenically and spiritually, or as the composer describes it, “a celebration of the beauty, pathos, and variety of both our geography and culture. It is laid out in four movements:
I. Morning: Waldo County, Maine
II. Mid-day: Mother Emanuel Church, Charleston, South Carolina
III. Sunset: High Desert, Santa Fe, New Mexico
IV. Evening: Manhattan
The raw material of American Pilgrimage is drawn from four sources: Protestant hymnody (Waldo County, Maine), gospel music (Mother Emanuel Church, Charleston), Native American songs (Santa Fe), and jazz (Manhattan). Foremost in my mind in composing this work was to capture a vision of the epic quality of our country—the awesome diversity of its landscape and its people."
Score and parts of American Pilgrimage are published by Muzzy Ridge Music (ASCAP) and distributed by Music Associates of America upon its release (September 2017).