In September 2009, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra released its premiere CD, Three Symphonic Centuries, which commemorates the 300th anniversary of Annapolis’s Royal Charter. The CD has the culmination of a three-year-long musical project commemorating the 1708 signing of the Royal Charter that gave the city of Annapolis the right to govern itself.

On November 7 & 8, 2008, the ASO presented two concerts at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts that were captured live for the production of this recording. The repertoire featured on these concerts was selected to mark the year of the signing of the Royal Charter and each subsequent centennial anniversary. These works were thus composed or premiered in 1708, 1808, 1908, and 2008, and were also intended to reflect the egalitarian principles and values inherent in the celebration of the tri-centennial anniversary. The signing of the Royal Charter established a lasting representative government, which was the first step in the struggle for full voting rights for women and people of color. The fact that the concerts took place just a few days after the election of the first African-American president in the history of the United States made this celebration all the more meaningful.

The recording features:

  • Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in F Major, op. 6, No. 9 (ca. 1708)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67 (1808)
  • Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole (1908)
  • the World Premiere Recording of Narong Prangcharoen’sTri-Sattawat (2008), winner of the Annapolis Charter 300 Young Composers Competition

It is interesting to note that the first three works in this album represent three of the most emblematic countries in the Western musical tradition and the birthplace of Western classical music: Italy, Germany, and France. The last work, in contrast, brings an Asian country to the fore. The inclusion of the music of Thailand illustrates the expansion of the symphonic world in the 21st century. The chronology of the compositions also highlights the gradual growth of orchestral forces from the Baroque to modern times, the strong legacy of dance rhythms (Corelli and Ravel), and the importance of folk-related materials (Ravel and Prangcharoen).

The ASO and its Music Director, José-Luis Novo, received a 2008 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for the four world premieres generated by the Annapolis Charter 300 Young Composers Competition. The competition was partially funded by a generous grant from the City of Annapolis Art in Public Places Commission. The ASO also acknowledges the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the recording project: artist Lee Boynton for the use of the cover art Annapolis Harbor 1890, Chesapeake Medical Imaging, Cliftara Bed & Breakfast, Herrmann Advertising Design/Communications, and an anonymous donor.

Copies of the CD are available through the ASO for $20 each. For further information or to order copies, call the ASO Office at 410-269-1132.