Curious to see what the audience chose for our September 16 Orchestra Greatest Hits program?

THE ROMANTICS!

Overture from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1826) – Mendelssohn 

At two separate times, Felix Mendelssohn composed music for William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. First in 1826, near the start of his career, he wrote a concert overture (Op. 21). … The incidental music includes the world-famous Wedding March.

Salut d’amour (1888) – Elgar 

Originally written for violin and piano, Elgar finished the piece in July 1888, when he was romantically involved with Caroline Alice Roberts, and he called it “Liebesgruss” (‘Love’s Greeting’) because of Miss Roberts’ fluency in German. On their engagement she had already presented him with a poem “The Wind at Dawn” which he set to music and, when he returned home to London on 22 September from a holiday at the house of his friend Dr. Charles Buck in Settle, he gave her Salut d’Amour as an engagement present

Symphony #2, Mvt. 1 (1814) – Schubert 

This thoroughly enjoyable and uncomplicated symphony, written by a mere teenager, sounds at times like Beethoven for its rhythmic energy, at times like Mozart for its classical elegance, and of course like Schubert for its melodic freshness and lyricism.

In The Steppes of Central Asia (1880) – Borodin  

“What a wonderful piece of music!!! Every time I listen it to I am amazed and in my imagination I see the landscape of the steppes.” – quote from Ivanhoe Cabrillo
The work was originally intended to be a tableaux vivant in celebration of the silver anniversary of the reign of Tzar Alexander II. A tableaux vivant is like a live photograph; actors are dressed in costumes and are directed to stand in front of an elaborate set while music plays in the background, but they aren’t supposed to move. Unfortunately, this production was never realized, but we are left with a great piece of music.

Lament for String Orchestra (1915) – Bridge 

Known throughout most of the 20th century as one of Benjamin Britten’s teachers, Frank Bridge is now recognized as one of the finest British composers of his time, with piles of recording projects springing up in the 80’s and 90’s when people realized how gorgeous much of his music is.  While Bridge wrote some arrestingly beautiful and creative works throughout his career, one piece in particular sticks in my mind as a perfect wedding of aural beauty and immense sadness.  On May 7, 1915, a German U-Boat fired torpedoes at the RMS Lusitania, a civilian ocean liner, and sank it in the Atlantic.  1,195 people died, and the incident cause international furor, catalyzing the already messy first World War and giving America more reason to declare war a couple of years later.  Among the lost was Catherine, a 9-year-old girl and friend to Bridge, who died with her family, and the loss was too much for Bridge to let pass him by without writing an elegy.  What he created is probably the most beautiful piece of music ever written about a nautical disaster. (NOTE: Barbara Drew’s neighbor is Frank Bridge’s nephew… she’s working on getting him involved with ICS!)

Kamarinskaya (1848) – Glinka 

Glinka composed his Kamarinskaya in 1848. It became famous as the first orchestral work based entirely on Russian folk song

Scheherazade Suite, Mvt. 1 (1888) – Rimsky-Korsakov 

The title “Scheherazade” refers to the main character Shahrazad of the One Thousand and One Nights. It is considered Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work.

Symphony in D minor, Mvt 3/Finale (1888) – Franck 

The Symphony in D minor is the most famous orchestral work and the only symphony written by the 19th-century Belgian composer César Franck. After two years of work, the symphony was completed 22 August 1888. It was premiered at the Paris Conservatory on 17 February 1889 under the direction of Jules Garcin.

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