On April 21 and 22, Rachel Barton Pine and The Phoenix Symphony, conducted by Tito Muñoz, will premiere DEPENDENT ARISING, an original violin concerto of Heavy Metal Art, by New York City based composer and violinist Earl Maneein. The piece was commissioned by Tito Muñoz, a great honor to Maneein. “I’m completely blown away and moved by the opportunity to bring metal music and culture into modern western art music as a viable influence,” says Maneein. The performances will take place at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, AZ on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11 am and 7:30 pm, and on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm.
Maneein explains in his program notes that the Violin Concerto in C minor Op. 1 “Dependent Arising”, is intended to be a musical statement on the Buddhist concept that all things arise in dependence upon other things. He adds, “I am honored as a young American composer to contribute to The Phoenix Symphony and Music Director Tito Munoz’s commitment to new classical works. The tools I used to write this concerto are based on the three main threads interwoven throughout my whole life- the world of extreme music (encompassing the subgenres of Thrash, Death and Black Metal, Grindcore, Mathcore and Hardcore Punk), the Western Classical tradition, and my practice as a Buddhist.”
The result is a different type of orchestral soundscape. In “Dependent Arising” the soloist, acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine, aggressively pushes her own voice over the orchestra, a departure from the traditional practice of bringing the orchestra to a soft dynamic so that the soloist may be heard.
The first movement, subtitled “Grasping at the Self,” explores the fruitlessness of ambition, dreams and wishes tied to desire. The orchestral section picks up the theme using the language of metal riffs as a way to communicate aggression and fear, tools that are used interchangeably between the soloist and the orchestra throughout first the movement, and then the entire concerto.
The second movement subtitled “The crows knew of your grief. They will carry him home,” contemplates how building an understanding of the ephemeral nature of our lives opens us up to a new appreciation of life in the present. The title recalls the early Buddhist traditions in which a monk visualizes a crow feasting on his own body while in meditation with bodies decomposing in plain air at a graveyard.
The third movement’s subtitle, “Gaté, Gaté Paragaté Parasangaté, Bodhi Svaha” is the entirety of the Heart Sutra, one of the most famous sutras in Mahayana Buddhism. Loosely translated, it means “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone well beyond, Enlightenment that may be realized.” Maneein explains, “This sutra is my hope and wish for all sentient beings as well as myself. This movement is meant to embody wrath as a transformational tool- the fierce, diamond hard cutting through ignorance, defilement and unskillful actions into Pure Wisdom and compassion.”