ASO Ends Year With Entrancing Favorites
The Alma Symphony Orchestra presents an entrancing and
eclectic program of music for its “Finale of Favorites,” the final
concert of the 2006-07 performance season.
The ASO will perform celebrated and memorable classics of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Sibelius as well as exotic and evocative works by Dukas, Debussy and Hovhannes at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15 in the Remick Heritage Center at Alma College.
Tickets are $10 for adults and free for youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. For more information or to reserve tickets, call the Heritage Center Box Office at (989) 463-7304 between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Finale of Favorites” also showcases the expressive, beautiful sounds of the harp by featured soloist and harpist Yoojin Jung, who will join the orchestra for the first half of the concert.
“The first half of the concert is about tone color and exotic, sensual sounds,” says ASO Director Murray Gross.
The ASO’s brass players open the concert with the powerful “Fanfare to La Peri” by Paul Dukas, the French composer famous for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” First performed in 1912 in Paris, the brass fanfare opens the ballet “LaPeri” about a man's search for immortality and his encounter with a mythological, magic flower.
Following this, the program highlights two works by Dukas’ friend and renowned composer Claude Debussy. The string section will accompany Jung for “Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane,” which has become recognized as among the best-known and most frequently performed works for harp since its composition in 1904. The first "sacred" dance is based on a keyboard piece by Portuguese composer Francisco de Lacerda, and the second "secular" dance is a Spanish melody that Debussy also incorporated into two piano solos.
Debussy’s famous “Afternoon of a Faun” was inspired by and named after Mallarmé's poem that describes the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep and his encounters with several nymphs. First performed in 1894, his piece marks the beginning of musical modernism with its “introduction of new sounds and textures,” says Gross.
“Compositions by Debussy are all about sound, texture, color and subtleties in music,” says Gross.
Concluding the first half of the program is “And God Created Great Whales,” written by American composer Alan Hovhannes in 1970. In this rich and flowing piece, the orchestra recreates waves of ocean sounds and incorporates recordings of actual whale songs.
The second half of the concert is essentially the ASO “creating a symphony out of favorite movements from other works,” says Gross.
Opening this part of the program is a movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, also known as the “Haffner Symphony.” The Symphony was commissioned for the occasion of Sigmund Haffner's ennoblement and was first performed in 1783.
Next is music from Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, more commonly referred to as his “Italian Symphony.” Inspired by the color and atmosphere of Italy, this piece was completed in 1833 after Mendelssohn finished his two-year tour of Europe.
The concert will conclude with the second movement from Symphony No. 2 in D major, composed by Jean Sibelius between 1901 and 1902. Instantly popular and considered an unparalleled success of the time, this piece continues to be enjoyed for energy and colorful tonalities.
“When we reach the glorious D major climax, it’s an exiting moment, hearing the sound, feeling the sound waves coming at you,” says Gross.“Its an exciting experience that you just can’t get at home,” Gross says.
Posted: Wed, April 4th, 2007 at 5:01PM