Phrases like "family entertainment" and " recommended for all ages" are far too often euphemisms for "dull and unimaginative," as though children were simply very dim adults who could only be trusted with the performing arts equivalent of plastic scissors. Fortunately, the folks at Disney/Pixar know better.
In my last symphony preview post, I gave you a glimpse at the upcoming Christmas concerts. This time, let's look at the post-Christmas action.
The Macy's Holiday Celebration concerts with the St. Louis Symphony have, of late, fallen into a pattern that's as familiar and cozy as a bulky red woolen sweater. This year, I'm happy to report, is no exception.
The rush of winter winds, the clap of thunder, the pounding of rain, the buzzing of insects, the barking of a dog, the slipperiness of ice, the languor of summer, the singing of not just one bird, but multiple species—all these were engraved into Antonio Vivaldi’s remarkable set of violin concertos dating from 1725, “The Four Seasons.” Today we take them for granted, and even the least musically educated among us know them, but in their day these four short concertos brought the Baroque period to a higher level of innovation and creativity.
Looking for something different in holiday entertainment? Seriously consider "A Winter Fable," the current collaboration between Circus Flora and the St. Louis Symphony. It features great music by Steven Jarvi and the symphony—including some rarely played pieces by Ippolitov-Ivanov, Dvořák, and Janáček—and an impressive array of circus acts. It's major holiday fun.
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will be delivering Christmas presents for St. Louis audiences throughout the month of December. Let's sneak downstairs and take a peek under the wrapping, shall we?
As I said in my first symphony preview post this week, the main event at the St. Louis Symphony this weekend is Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Steven Jarvi is at the podium and the violin soloists—all drawn from the symphony string section—are Jessica Cheng (“Spring”), Angie Smart (“Summer”), Jooyeon Kong (“Autumn”), and Alison Harney (“Winter”). What I left out was any mention of the other two works on the program.
This weekend (December 5-7, 2014) the major work on the St. Louis Symphony program is the set of violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi known as "The Four Seasons." It's a popular work with performers and audiences alike. As I discovered in my research for this post, it also has a long and significant history with the SLSO.
The St. Louis Symphony's regular subscription season ended a month ago with a bang-up performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 the weekend of May 9th. But they've got a final encore concert for you this Saturday.
As often as I've seen the 1942 film "Casablanca," it wasn't until I heard Max Steiner's score performed live with the movie this past Saturday that I fully appreciated how important the music is in establishing the mood of key scenes and in advancing the story.