2015-2016 "Brio" Season
The first concert of the season is
"Gypsies, Animals and Cinema"
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Lee College Performing Arts Center
"Gypsies, Animals and Cinema"
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Lee College Performing Arts Center
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 was written by Hungarian Composer Franz Liszt (1811-1866). Liszt was born into a region of Hungary that is now part of Austria, although he traveled so extensively as a young pianist that he spent little time in his native Hungary. As a result, he was never entirely successful in learning his native tongue, instead being raised speaking mostly French (the language of Romantic Era musicians). Despite spending so little time there, Liszt had a deep and abiding love for the gypsy style of music that he considered to be integral to Hungary. He fallaciously believed that Hungarian folk music was derived from the Gypsy melodies and scales. Musicologists have since proven this theory to be untrue. None the less, Liszt’s nationalistic compositions immortalize a specific style of his native country that proved important in establishing a new form in musical composition.
The composer borrowed the term “Rhapsody” from literature in an effort to indicate the, “fantastic epic quality” of his music, and based his composition form on the style of the Hungarian national dance, the Czardas. Liszt’s Rhapsody No 2 is part of a set of 19 Rhapsodies, and is by far his most famous. Listeners will recognize it from its many uses in cinema and cartoons, most notably Tom and Jerry, and the dueling pianos scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This piece was originally written for piano in 1847, but was quickly scored for orchestra once its popularity soared.
Peter and the Wolf is a narrated musical tale for children that was written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936. Prokofiev wrote the unusual fairy tale for the Moscow Children’s Theatre, at the urging of its director, Natalia Satz. Prokofiev was born in Russia in 1891, twenty six years prior to the Bolshevik Revolution. He was a musical prodigy, writing his first piano piece at the age of five, and his first opera at nine. At 13, young Prokofiev began studying composition and music at the Conservatory of St. Petersburg with such notable composers as Rimsky-Korsakov. His musical style, however, was seen as to European for the Bolshevik style that was popular at the time. Following the political unrest, he left Russia for France and the United States. Prokofiev returned to his homeland in 1934, where he remained until his death on the 5th of March, 1953, the same day as Joseph Stalin.
It was against the expectations of a Soviet government who sought to control and regulate Russian composition, that Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf. This unique musical journey was intended to introduce children to orchestral instruments through the medium of a narrated fairy tale. Each character in this musical fantasy is represented by a different instrument or instrumental family. Peter himself is represented by the strings, the bird by a twittering flute, the duck by plaintive oboe, the cat by a mellow clarinet, the Grandfather by a sonorous bassoon, the hungry wolf by three horns, and the hunter’s rifles by the timpani. Peter and the Wolf was an instant success with children and adults alike. In 1946 Disney produced a cinematic adaptation of the tale, which continues to delight audiences of all ages today.
Forrest Gump Suite
The score of the beloved 1994 film Forest Gump was composed by Alan Silvestri. Silvestri began composing for television in the early 70’s, writing for such shows as Starsky and Hutch and CHiPS, later teaming up in cinema with director Robert Zemeckis. Together they have created 14 films including the Back to the Future trilogy and Forest Gump, for which Silvestri received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score. Silvestri is also known for his scores for the two Predator movies and The Avengers series.
Forest Gump was an heroic romantic tale based a 1986 novel by Winston Groom. The movie chronicles several decades in the life of Forest Gump, a simple boy from Alabama who was raised by his mother. He experiences several pivotal moments in world history, ultimately receiving what he has always longed for, the love of his beloved childhood friend, Jenny. This orchestral suite includes the memorable and much-loved “feather” theme from Silvestri’s original score, and has been adapted by Calvin Custer.
Star Trek Through the Years is a compilation of music originally written by Jerald (Jerry) Goldsmith (1929-2004). This compilation comprises the theme from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Inner Light, the theme from Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Jerry Goldsmith enjoyed fame as a composer for film and television. In 1979, Goldsmith was given the task of reinventing the Star Trek franchise with his music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Beyond creating a new theme, Goldsmith utilized musical sounds in entirely new ways in his score, including the use of a musical “Blaster Beam.” This award winning score was later adapted to become the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The score also contained his famous “Klingon Battle Theme,” which was reprised in later Star Trek productions including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek First Contact. Goldsmith’s score earned him his eleventh of eighteen total career Oscar Nominations, as well as a nomination for a Golden Globe, and a Saturn award for “Best Music” with The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films. Goldsmith is also known for his scoring of the music for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1989, Star Trek: Voyager in 1994, for which he won an Emmy Award, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and finally Star Trek: Nemesis. Jerry Goldsmith passed away from an aggressive form of cancer in 2004, but his mark has indelibly been left on the science fiction and cinematic community through his masterful reinvention of the Star Trek franchise and his many other television and cinematic successes.
Jurassic Park Highlights and Star Wars Medley
Both of these masterful scores were created by cinematic musical legend, John Williams. Born in New York in 1932, John Towner Williams grew up surrounded by music. As the son of a jazz percussionist, Williams heard many of the great masters of his day. In 1948, his family left New York for Los Angeles where he studied composition at UCLA. In 1952 he was recruited by the US Air Force, where he arranged and conducted music for the USAF Band. Following his service, he returned to New York to study piano at the Juilliard School and to work as a jazz pianist. Eventually Williams would return to LA to perform pianistically and to begin work as an orchestrator in the television and film industry. His major cinematic break came with a young director in 1974, who wanted him to compose the music for his theatrical debut. The following year, that young director, Stephen Spielberg, teamed up again with Williams to create JAWS. This collaboration of talents proved to be so successful, that Williams became Spielberg’s go-to composer for all of his major cinematic projects, firmly establishing John Williams as one of the late 20th century’s most extraordinary cinematic and orchestral composers.
Immediately following Jaws, Spielberg again approached Williams with the invitation to compose the score for his new project, the 1977 space epic, Star Wars IV, A New Hope. By the latter half of the twentieth century, cinematic composers had moved away from orchestrating full scores, instead preferring to compile popular music of the day to create the mood desired. Williams and Spielberg believed that the old forms of orchestration could be brought into a new era with Star Wars. With its sweeping themes and exquisite timing, the Star Wars score caught movie goers up in the film in new and exciting ways. To the delight of movie goers and film critics alike, Williams brought back the old style of symphonic scoring, utilizing Wagner’s leitmotiv technique that created specific themes for individual characters that were flexible enough to be reworked at various times throughout the score. The scores to the Star Wars movies remain one of John Williams most recognized and celebrated successes. John Williams, now 83 years old, has again been employed to create the next episode in the Star Wars legacy, Star Wars VII, The Force Awakens, to be release Dec 18th of this year. The Medley that we are playing this evening includes all of William’s themes from the original Star Wars trilogy.
In the early 90’s, Williams was again approached by Spielberg to compose the score for his new science fiction thriller, Jurassic Park. This 1993 film was Williams’ twelfth project with Spielberg, and proved to be another cinematic success. Williams successfully created an atmosphere of amazement and underlying danger throughout the score, consistent with the wonder of seeing an island full of dinosaurs, also employing instruments to create dinosaur sounds. In the masterful way that became Williams’ trademark, he created sweeping themes to create an experience for movie-goers that drew them into the movie. From the wonder of the first dinosaur encounter, to the terrifying chase scenes, to the dramatic helicopter fly-over rescue, Williams created a score that brought the story to life in magnificent ways.
Throughout his prodigious career, John Williams has scored more than 100 films, most notably Jaws, the Star Wars films, Superman, E.T., the Jurassic Park films, Schindler’s List, and the first three Harry Potter films. He has been the recipient of 5 Academy Awards, 49 Academy Award Nominations, 3 Emmy Awards, and more than 20 Grammy Awards. His cinematic musical genius has forever changed the way that movies and music interact, earning him the spot as the most sought after cinematic composer of the last 50 years.