Saturday, November 02, 2013

A Fiery Start for the Humboldt Symphony

 Humboldt Symphony performs the climactic movements of Stravinsky’s famous Firebird Suite and other selections in its first concert of the school year on Saturday November 2 in Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU.

 Stravinsky was only 28 when his music for a Russian ballet called The Firebird made him instantly famous and launched his composing career. Humboldt Symphony plays the “lullaby” movement followed by the fiery finale of this familiar signature suite. “It has massive chords for the brass and the whole orchestra,” said conductor Paul Cummings. “ It’s clearly meant to be played loud.” 

 The symphony will also play the overture to an opera, Iphigenia in Aulis by a predecessor of Mozart, Christoph von Gluck. Richard Wagner called it “a glorious work” and Gluck’s “most perfect masterpiece” as an overture. The opera is based on a tragedy by Racine that in turn adapts ancient Greek stories concerning King Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia to the gods to secure victory in the Trojan War.

 Two works derived from folk music are also on the program. The ingenuous John Henry by Aaron Copland is based on the tale of a man who battles a machine to the death. The lively Romanian Folk Dances are orchestral settings of folk music that Bela Bartok collected from his native eastern Europe.

 In a nod to Boston pop concerts, the symphony plays the Latin-inflected Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson. 

 Humboldt Symphony performs on Saturday November 2 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Humboldt Symphony conducted by Paul Cummings; an HSU Music Department production.

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