Friday, May 3, 2013

Mary(ville) Month of May!

The KSO travels to Maryville tonight, bringing music of Rossini, Gershwin, William Grant Still, Leroy Anderson, and Sousa for FREE at 7:30 to the Theatre in the Park, across from the Blount County Courthouse. Joining us will be baritone Daniel Webb singing Rossini’s Largo al factotum for a reminiscence of the Rossini Festival (only hopefully, without the rain)!

Mr. Webb’s talents will also be showcased on Sunday afternoon in the Chamber Classics finale, at 2:30 at Knoxville's Bijou Theatre. He will be joined by mezzo-soprano Lettie Andrade de la Torre for a wonderful theatre piece, Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles. Bernstein’s final opus, it draws from a lifetime of erudite sources to bring some of his– and his mother’s– poetry to light. Originally scored for mezzo, baritone and piano four-hands, our version will delegate the piano part to strings and percussion (mostly mallet), in an orchestration published in 1989 by a composition student of Bernstein’s, Bright Sheng.

Both tonight's and Sunday's concerts will feature Gershwin's Lullaby for strings, a favorite of quartet players. The work is opus posthumous which means, not that he wrote it after he died, but that it was discovered or recovered or reissued after his death. It is a beautiful piece of string writing, but as a lullaby, I'm afraid it would fail, as most babies would wake up with its rousing recapitulation that is difficult to play squelchedly. I've always thought Nocturne or Allegretto would be a more appropriate title, but who asked me?

This American Masters concert will also bring the music of Cole Porter, Sondheim and Gershwin to the stage, in a show focused on orchestral/instrumental works by composers who made their biggest impact on music for Broadway. I would have to say that it’s been a while since we’ve had such a large ensemble on the Bijou stage; the scoring for these works is very clever. A word of caution, though: one of the movements of the Bernstein will REALLY wake you up when it begins.

No comments: