It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of yet another concert season, but this year has been one of trying a few new things—rolling with the punches that community arts organizations face on occasion, but we’ll elaborate more on that in a later post. For now, we’re less than 24 hours away from tomorrow’s concert and based on the level of excitement (especially in the last two rehearsals), we can’t wait to bring this concert to you.
Not only are we featuring our woodwind section in Beethoven’s Zapfenstreich March, we’ll also be featuring Seattle Symphony Associate Concertmaster Emma McGrath in Britten’s Violin Concerto. We could barely contain ourselves during our two rehearsals with her, and we sure hope you’ll feel the same way, too! This season, we’ll be closing with Tchaikovsky’s 6th and final symphony, the “Pathétique.” It's a symphony that ends quietly, but we're thinking about it in a "close one chapter and start a new one" kind of way (and that I’ve been sitting on this piece of information for a LONG time and can’t wait to turn loose).
In case you missed it, here’s a video of Maestro Stern talking about the pieces we’ll be featuring tomorrow.
While the information on getting to Meany Hall essentially hasn’t changed, there’ll be a few changes coming next year that, if you take a close look at the program tomorrow, you’ll notice one fairly wonderful change coming for next season that you've helped us make (I know I keep teasing about it, but it really is exciting for us to announce...but in due time!). If you’re not able to make it, stay tuned here, or better yet, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter as we’ll be making an announcement there, too.
One thing is certain: we couldn’t have done it with out you, we still can’t do it without you, and for that, we can only thank you from the bottom of our musical hearts.
So, tomorrow. We’re excited. Are you?
Regarding tomorrow’s concert, as mentioned earlier, it’s essentially the same, and based on the other things we need to get done in preparation, I’m going to (very shamelessly) copy as much of the previous information as possible:
Other pieces of information, inlcuding tidbits on getting to Meany Hall:
Again, please double check and allow for time to get to the hall (and to take care of any LivingSocial voucher formalities, etc.), and also please double check the bus schedules for route times—some routes aren’t operated on weekends or Sundays, and Sundays usually have a slightly different schedule! Also, the Fremont Fair is still happening on Sunday, and the 520 Bridge is also closed this weekend, so be ready for the possibility of traffic jams or any need to use an alternate route (we’re hoping there won’t be any).
Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!
The last concert feels like it was yesterday with all of the work that has been going on and this Sunday, yes Sunday, we’re back at Meany Hall (yes, Meany Hall!). We’ll be joined by Rose Jo-Shih Cheng, our 2013 Don Bushell Concerto Competition winner, playing one of Edvard Grieg’s most popular works: the Piano Concerto in A minor. In the two rehearsals we’ve had with her, we can definitely say it’ll be a treat to her her play the concerto.
Come for the Grieg, but don’t forget to stay for the Dukas. That's right! This concert, we’re bringing music by Grieg and Dukas—a little bit of the familiar, and a little bit of a hidden gem. If you’re not familiar with Dukas’ Symphony in C Major, you might want to check out Maestro’s words about it in the preceding blog entry for some insight, as well as watching him speak about it in our video section.
If you’ve joined us for concerts before, it's worth mentioning that we’re back to the concert hall where we’ve performed for the past many years, at the same day and time. Whether you’re new to us this season or may have seen us perform before, here’s some helpful information. Some of it familiar, some of it with a slight variation from last time:
Other pieces of information, inlcuding tidbits on getting there:
Again, please double check and allow for time to get to the hall (and to take care of any LivingSocial voucher formalities, etc.), and also please double check the bus schedules for route times—some routes aren’t operated on weekends or Sundays, and Sundays usually have a slightly different schedule! Also, since we’re in Seattle, there’s some rain in the forecast, so be ready for the possibility of traffic jams (we’re hoping there won’t be any).
Sunday’s almost here, and once again we’re so excited. Join us for the familiar (with Rose Jo-Shih Cheng), and join us for something different. We hope to see you there—it’s going to be a fun concert!
Fate has been kind in wildly varying degrees to different composers. There are those whose works are consistently well-represented in concert halls and on stages everywhere; a good many of the orchestral works, songs, chamber pieces and operas of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, to name but three, are usually available to the concert-goer or opera aficionado on a steady basis. Then there are composers who are household names, even though a relatively small portion of their output is widely known. Take Handel, for example -- considering the vast amount of great music he produced, it is surprising (and a shame) that he is known to music-lovers almost exclusively by a handful of works: Messiah, The Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks, and um...um... And then there are those who, in spite of devoting their lives to the production of very fine, if not excellent music, are known to the general public by a solitary composition. Read the following names, and see if more than one piece comes to mind, let alone whether you've ever heard something other than that one piece: Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Gustav Holst, Arthur Honegger, Ferde Grofé. If you're one of the lucky ones who have actually heard a work other than these respective gentlemen's I Pagliacci, The Planets, Pacific 231 and Grand Canyon Suite, you may consider yourself a member of a select sect indeed.
(Being a "one-work [wo]man" is by no means limited to the world of music. Is Miguel de Cervantes remembered for anything but Don Quixote, Louisa May Alcott Little Women, or Anthony Perkins his portrayal of Psycho's Norman Bates?)
To the shortlist above would have to be added Paul Dukas, whose orchestral scherzo The Sorcerer's Apprentice receives hundreds of performances per year; its already-popular status was increased goodness-knows-how-much-fold when Walt Disney and Leopold Stokowski included it in their glorious and immortal collaboration Fantasia. I have no qualms about naming Dukas as one of the greatest of all French composers, even though I have only heard and studied about eight of his works and, at this writing, have only performed two of them. Sadly, those eight comprise roughly two-thirds of his music that anyone can know: in a spasm of self-criticism, he destroyed most of his extant manuscripts shortly before his death, not wishing to be remembered by anything he felt to be of subpar quality. All the more reason to be grateful for his Piano Sonata, the ballet La Péri, and the opera Arianne et Barbe-Bleu which, in this writer's opinion, more than gives Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande a run for its money.
And then there is the Symphony in C, perhaps my favorite of all his works, which I am going to conduct with the Seattle Philharmonic for the first time in my career in March. I personally find this work to be at least the equal of Bizet's Symphony in C, Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony and the Symphony of Ernest Chausson and, no doubt putting me at odds with many in the musical establishment, vastly superior to Franck's Symphony in D minor. (I might not go so far as to damn the latter as harshly as did Charles Gounod when he dubbed it "the affirmation of incompetence pushed to dogmatic lengths", but I don't make any special effort to listen to it, either.) If you know Dukas solely by The Sorcerer's Apprentice, then you already know of his gift for superb orchestration, his ability to create an atmosphere, and his delicious sense of humor. What may surprise you about the Symphony is the romanticism and poignance of Dukas: the slow movement must surely count as one of French music's most eloquent and moving creations, the expression of a man possessed of deep and passionate feelings who knew full well how to express them.
Do both yourself and Monsieur Dukas a favor, and give his Symphony a listen. At the very least, you will end up knowing twice as much of his music as you did going in!
Seattle and Denver Philharmonic Orchestras Connect for Super Bow Championship
Denver/Seattle – January 30, 2014 – The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) has teamed up with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) to create the music video mashup, “Battle of the Batons: Super Bow I.” The mashup features an original arrangement of John Denver and Mike Taylor’s “Rocky Mountain High,” and Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”
You can view the video at www.battleofthebatons.com.
In less than a week, more than 40 musicians and volunteers came together from both orchestras to produce the three-minute video. The collaboration gave the arts organizations a platform to cheer on their respective NFL teams who will compete in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 2.
DPO Board President Jon Olafson said, “Since this is such an exciting time in both of our cities, we thought it would be fun to collaborate together on a Super Bowl project. [The mashup] is a great way for our orchestras to show support for our communities,” said Olafson.
“We want to let the Seahawks and Broncos know that the cultural organizations of their cities are behind them, and share in the excitement!” said SPO President Michael Moore.
Despite the orchestras’ friendly social media banter, the collaboration proves that music can rise above fierce rivalry and bring people together.
The video was produced by Ligature Creative and filmmaker David Sherman; original orchestration by Tim Olt.
(Check it out! Our concert is in lights in the picture!)
Walking down the street, checking the mailbox at the post office across the street, sometimes the sign will catch the eye and it's always exciting to see your group's name in lights. Especially when it's at Benaroya Hall! It's been a lot of weeks and many rehearsals coming, but this Saturday we're excited to bring you three different takes by three different composers on the 1001 Arabian Nights story!
If you're already planing on coming, or if you're thinking about coming to join us (and we really, really, really hope you do), here are a few thigns to know or remember:
•This upcoming "Wondrous Land of Tales" concert is on a Saturday at 2:00PM! If you've been to one of our concerts, you'll know that this is different from our norm.
•At the end of the concert we are having our usual chat with Adam Stern--just come forward to the first few rows and join our maestro who will be chatting about the program and answer a few of your questions, too!
•If you want to be in on any updates (known traffic advisories, or any other hepful information) if we have any, you might want to connect with us on Twitter (@seattlephil) or join our event on Facebook.
Some logistics or other information:
LivingSocial - if you purchased tickets via our LivingSocial promotion, your tickets will be available at will call under the name of who purchased the deal.
Will Call tickets (including tickets purchased via the LivingSocial promotion) - the Benaroya Hall box office will open 30 minutes prior to the performance. You can pick your tickets up there! The box office is nearest the entrance on the 3rd Ave. & Union St. intersection.
Parking - Benaroya Hall parking is typically $12 on event days, and this is going to be an event day! If you plan ahead (perhaps enjoy lunch at one of the nearby restaurants, or at Pike Place Market), you might be able to find parking at one of the nearby garages for less.
Public Transportation - The 3rd Ave. side of Benaroya Hall is a stop for many buses, including the 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, (*deep breath*) 25, 27, 33, 36, 40, 43, 49, 66, 70, 83, and 84. The University Street Tunnel Station directly below the concert hall is served by the 550, 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 101, 102, 106, 150, 255, 316, and the LINK Light Rail. Please carefully check schedules to give yourself enough time (One Bus Away, anyone?).
Hopefully there won't be any errors in the bus information above, but please double-check if you plan on travelling that way. Some of the routes may or may not operate on weekdays only, or they may be on a special schedule for an unforeseen reason (fortunately any Seahawks earthquakes haven't been forecast until Sunday).
I think that's it! We have one rehearsal to go this Wednesday and then we take this program to the stage!
(We're really excited to play this for you this Saturday!)
Benaroya Hall houses two performance halls in a complex that is thoroughly integrated into downtown Seattle. Occupying an entire city block at the very core of the city, the development celebrates the vital role of performance events while maintaining the continuity of commercial life along one avenue and providing a much-needed public space, in the form of a terraced garden, along another.
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
Music for Dancing
Tap Dance Concerto
Alex Dugdale, tap dancer
Spirits of the Dead (world première)
Edmund Stone, speaker
Suite, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”