Friday, January 26, 2007

Maestro Musings - for Feb. 3, 2007 - Triple Treat!

Before each concert our Music Director Kim Allen Kluge shares his thoughts with readers. Here is his first Musing for 2007, detailing just how unique our next concert is:

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra & The Shakespeare in Washington Festival present “Where Dreams Dwell”

What do a Classical Master, Hollywood Composer, and Rock Music Icon have in common? Their musical interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will appear together on the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s February 3rd Shakespeare in Washington concert. The international list of participants for the festival includes The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Kirov Opera, American Ballet Theatre and…The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

Elvis Costello and The Shakespeare in Washington Festival? Yes, rock icon Elvis Costello has composed a classical rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And guess what, it’s an astonishingly good symphonic score. It’s fresh, imaginative, and really makes the orchestra sing. I was so amazed when I received the conductor’s score that I contacted the publisher and learned that Mr. Costello had written over two hundred compositions for classical music ensembles. It really shows! Costello fan, or not, one can’t help but be beguiled by this music that is jazzy in feel and full of romantic lyricism and color.

I will give a short “tutorial” immediately preceding the performance. In the great Wagnerian tradition, Costello uses leitmotifs, or specific musical themes, to represent the “Dream”, or the magical realm of the forest, or Puck’s mischievousness, etc. Each musical theme is easily recognizable and will produce the “Ah Ha!” effect on the listener when they least expect it.

Two other musical portrayals of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will round out the program. Benjamin Britten’s widely acclaimed masterpiece will be excerpted. We will also include music from Erich Korngold’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1935 film score. (Yes, he is the composer for the Robin Hood movie starring Errol Flynn).

It is eye-opening to compare different composer’s interpretations to the same inspiration. On this program we have a Classical Master, a Hollywood Composer and a Rock Music Icon. And the results? Some startling similarities and some equally fresh and delightful differences.

Join the Alexandria Symphony’s Shakespeare in Washington concert on February 3rd for a triple treat.

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