Nov 22, 2013
The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts is the gateway to all mainstream touring acts who come to the remote state, but this time it was a local act which stole the show. The Anchorage Civic Orchestra premiered "Cajolery of the Forest," for the first time as a featured piece in its all-American concert on November 22 with Maffe conducting.
Maffe's piece is a tone poem—a retelling of the fall of man (Genesis 3), but without the fruit. A man finds himself in a serene forest surrounded by beauty but tormented by a solitary tree which calls to him. He battles the temptation but finally touches it and the short satisfaction quickly diverges to pain and loud noises like a trumpet throw the man to the ground. Then a light comes and brings peace to the man. The piece was written in tandem with a poem narrating the story ("Cajolery of the Tree").
Mike Dunham of the Anchorage Daily News reviews the performance:
"Cajolery" is a well-wrought tone poem evoking the northern woods. It mixes the mysterious lightness of Alan Hovhaness and the calculated lushness of a movie score with an excellent and stirring -- though perhaps insufficiently developed -- song theme that keeps sticking in my head. There was a standing ovation and shouts of approval for the composer at the end of the piece."
Artwork by Julia Wadell