With the end of the academic term in most U.S. colleges and universities quickly approaching, both students and faculty are gearing up for some very busy weeks ahead. In schools of music, this usually means preparing for juries, large ensemble performances, and degree recitals. I like this time of the semester, but it has admittedly been difficult for me to carve out some time to write blog posts. I’ll do my best to keep my head above water for the next couple of weeks, and try to keep the posts coming. Adding to the excitement are two orchestral concerts featuring the Rapides Symphony Orchestra (April 30) and the Monroe Symphony Orchestra (May 7). I’m actually writing this blog post on the same day as the RSO concert, so by the time you read it the concert will have come and gone. However, if you live locally you still have time to get your tickets for the MSO concert. Both programs are season finales, and will feature some great repertoire highlighting all of the sections in each orchestra. In Rapides we’ll be playing William Walton’s Crown Imperial march, which was an inspired bit of programming considering the recent royal wedding, as well as Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, and a relatively new work by Christopher Lee called Interiors. Since the rest of the program consists of well known orchestral standards, I’ll confine my remarks to Interiors. Written in 2007, Interiors is an orchestral showpiece which explores a number of different colors and sound effects. The piece calls for quarter tones in several instruments, as well as some intricate rhythms and technical passages throughout the orchestra. Overall it’s a very exciting piece and should go over well with the audience. Follow this link to listen to a recording of the piece: http://amc.net/library/composition.aspx?CompositionID=346139 One other interesting note about the performance is that the composer will be giving a virtual lecture on his work to the entire audience via Skype, utilizing the hall’s speaker system and large projection screen.
Jumping ahead to the following week, the MSO will close out its season with Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Listz’s Totentanz (featuring the winner of the MSO’s Young Artist Competition), and Rachmaninov’s symphonic poem The Rock.
I wasn’t familiar with the Rachmaninov, but it (along with the rest of the program) promises to be exciting for both the audience and the orchestra. If you have played the Wagner, you know that it alone is quite a long blow, so I’ll be making sure to pace myself throughout rehearsals and the performance.
There are I’m sure a number of other regional and smaller orchestras throughout the country who are preparing their season closers, and if you perform with one or more of them I wish you good luck and great performances!