Concert II, 2022-2023 Season
Favorite Music for All Ages
This concert is family-oriented in a number of ways. Some of the music was written for children; some features young and young-at-heart performers, and all of it is appealing for everyone to listen to.
Hector Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, written in 1845, is an epic work for voices and orchestra, which tells the story of the aging and world-weary scholar Faust who is tricked by the Devil into seducing a young woman and ends up in Hell. This “Hungarian March” occurs in the first part of the work, and its relentless good cheer forms an ironic counterpoint to Faust’s existential misery. When the march is excerpted, of course, as it is here, the good cheer remains and the irony is lost.
Tubby the Tuba, a work written in 1945 by the lyricist Paul Tripp and the composer George Kleinsinger, is both a kid-oriented introduction to some of the instruments in the orchestra, and a fable about the importance of self-esteem, especially if you are, like both tubas and bullfrogs, the butt of too many jokes.
Arturo Marquez is a Mexican composer. “Danzon No. 2,” written in 1994, is one of his most popular works. It combines elements of dance music from both Cuba and Mexico. The most prominent Cuban element is the claves rhythm, which you hear first on the wooden sticks appropriately named the clave. This rhythm is five unevenly spaced notes, and you can hear it throughout the piece, sometimes in the percussion but often in other parts of the orchestra too.
Everyone knows “Yankee Doodle.” The exact origins of the tune are not clear, but the words seem to have been written by a British doctor as an insult to the Revolutionary Americans— Yankees who were uncouth and couldn’t tell the difference between feathers and macaroni. But for whatever reason, these Americans proudly adopted the song, and here it is, strikingly arranged by Morton Gould.
Edvard Grieg’s only piano concerto, written in 1868, is a favorite with pianists and audiences alike. It allows the pianist to show off both her virtuosity and her sweet tone in the lyrical sections. The Midcoast Symphony Orchestra is proud to play it with rising young pianist Mesa Schubeck.
Rimsky-Korsakov was one of the most famous composers and teachers in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. One of Rimsky’s signal qualities as a composer was his brilliant use of the orchestra to create different colors. Depicting Spain (or “Spain”) had long been an opportunity for composers to show off what they could do with the resources of a full orchestra, as well as to write music that puts sultry melodies alongside infectious dance-like rhythms. Rimsky’s Capriccio Espagnol does not disappoint.
© Copyright Mary Hunter 2022