Saturday, October 30, 2010
Treats and a Trick with the Humboldt Symphony
The Humboldt Symphony ushers in Halloween this fall with some spooky music treats and an extra-musical trick. It’s all part of a family-friendly concert on Saturday October 30 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.
In the evening’s bag of symphonic music are two works with a Halloween resonance—especially the rousing Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky, as orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Generations have heard major elements of Night on Bald Mountain in movies from The Wizard of Oz to a disco version in Saturday Night Fever, and have seen it illustrated in Walt Disney’s Fantasia and a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon (“What’s Opera, Doc?”) Its association with Halloween was recognized recently as a theme in one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street”movies.
“We get this combination of inspired music orchestrated by one of the best orchestrators who ever lived,” said Humboldt Symphony conductor Paul Cummings. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
Inspired by a short story by Gogol that involves witchcraft, and with a melody originally conceived for an opera called “The Witch”, it depicts (in the composer’s words) “subterranean sounds from supernatural voices” and “spirits of the dark.”
Last on the evening’s program, its performance will include a surprise that relates to the Halloween theme. Symphony conductor Paul Cummings won’t reveal more, except that he hopes it’s something that families in the audience will enjoy.
Before that, the Symphony plays The Peer Gynt Suite #1 by Grieg, a musical depiction of a fantasy involving the hero’s adventures among trolls, including a euphoric dance and a frantic escape.
“Much of the suite is quite famous,” Cummings said. Elements of it have been used in many movies, television shows and even a video game. The “In the Hall of the Mountain King” section has been reinterpreted by pop groups such as the Electric Light Orchestra and Apocalyptica. But the original suite “has some beautiful orchestral music,” Cummings said, “and it features some terrific playing by our HSU students.”
The concert also includes a prelude by Johannes Brahms in a form developed by J.S. Bach, and a baroque ballet suite by Jean-Baptiste de Lully.
The Humboldt Symphony performs an all-family concert on Saturday October 30 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID. Symphony conducted by Paul Cummings, produced by HSU Music Department.
Media: Humboldt State Now, Tri-City Weekly, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal, Humboldt Beacon.