“Music in 3D: Part Three” Concert Preview No. 3

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first of three “Musings” for the “Music in 3D: Part Three” concert that will be performed on April 17, 2016.

Symphony #3 in C minor, Op. 78 “The Organ” by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

“I have given everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again.” – Camille Saint-Saëns

CSaint-SaensWhile those words are mildly prophetic, one has to smile when his concerti, opera, and various other works are considered. Nonetheless, the scope of this piece with its requisite organ soloist and four-handed piano duo in the second part are noted is all at once as delicate as a fleur de lis and as imposing as the Eiffel Tower. While the piece is not religious in intent, there is a self-conscious humility that pervades the opening and its subsequent offbeat staccatos that give way to a truly “French” second theme of joy.

The sincere beauty and simplicity of the slow section makes for a lovely duet between organ and orchestra. The Second part continues with a scherzo that is reminiscent of the Spanish Fandango challenging the woodwinds and strings to virtuosic exchanges as we settle into a fugato that previews thematic material from the Finale. This finale is blazing as it reintroduces the organ with all its majesty in conversation with the orchestra’s brass until the end. If the theme seems familiar to you, you may recall that this music from this Finale figured prominently in the 1995 film, Babe.

 

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: Part Three” featuring violinist Louisa Woodfull-Harris and Jane Horn, Organ. The concert takes place on Sunday, April 17 at 3 p.m. at the St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington.

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.

 

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BSO 2015-16 Print Materials

If you haven’t seen a hard copy of the BSO’s 2015-16 Print Materials, please download them from this page! It contains all of the information you need to know about this year’s concerts and how to purchase tickets! (Click on the images to enlarge!)

BSO 2015-16 Mailer Front

BSO 2015-16 Mailer Back

 

BSO Fall 2015 Postcard Back

BSO Fall 2015 Postcard Front

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BSO Announces 2015-16 Concert Season

02bwThe Bloomington Symphony is thrilled to announce its 2015-16 concert season. Music Director Manny Laureano has put together a season of programs that will delight listeners young and old alike. Listeners will travel to many places through music – Spain and Italy, a trumpet player’s journey from beginner to the world of jazz clubs, the land of Lincoln and through the orchestra itself.

Featured soloists are BSO Concertmaster Michael Sutton, the Charles Lazarus Quintet, Narrators James Lileks, Yuri Ivan, Obiele Harper, Quinton Wormald, Organist Jane Horn and the winner of the Mary West Solo competition, to be announced in December. We are especially excited to play our first full orchestra concert at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Tickets for that concert are reserved, so please book early for the best seats.

For more information, please visit the page for each concert.

October 11, 2015 :: In the Spanish Style

November 22, 2015 :: Journeys

February 21, 2016 :: Play Me a Story

April 17, 2016 :: Music in 3D: Part Three

Tickets are available in advance through the Bloomington Box Office:

Tickets are also available at the door – Cash or check only

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“Music in 3D: The Sequel” Concert Preview No. 3

Before each concert, we share Manny’s Musings, thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the final edition of the Musings for the 2014-15 season. We hope you enjoy this preview of “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

Modest Moussorgsky (1839-1881) and his Pictures at an Exhibition orchestrated by Maurice Ravel occupies a cornerstone of the orchestral literature both as a masterwork of inspired composition and brilliant orchestration. There are over two dozen versions of the Russian Moussorgsky’s piano piece but the popularity of this orchestration by Ravel endures as the favorite of concert audiences. To be fair, it is the most often-played version and most people have not heard the other versions. A partial listing might include the first orchestration by Mikhail Tushmalov or Sir Henry Wood or Leopold Stokowski. There’s an arrangement for brass choir by Elgar Howarth for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. In 1977, I went on tour as principal trumpeter for the rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer and played their version. Even a version for solo trumpet and organ was written by the American trumpeter Vincent DiMartino. Clearly, the music is evocative enough to bring clear images to the mind and compelling enough to incite musicians to try their hand at making their own personal statement. But cream does tend to rise and Ravel’s orchestration continues to be the favorite world-wide.

You may remember from our previous discussions of Borodin that Moussorgsky was one of a group of Russian composers known as “The Five” who tasked themselves with creating concert music that would be representative of a Russian musical language and style. Moussorgsky’s modal key centers and free use of changing time signatures stays within that language in an exemplary fashion. It was then up to Frenchman Maurice Ravel to set about doing what he did best as one of the pre-eminent orchestrators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and bring Moussorgsky’s piano music to life with vivid instrumental color.

The pictures from this particular exhibition came from the mind of a recently deceased painter and friend of Moussorgsky named Victor Hartmann. After Hartmann’s death from an aneurysm, Moussorgsky was driven to honor him with a piece of music depicting several of these Russian-themed paintings. Hartmann’s paintings aren’t the only depiction, however. The piece begins with a Promenade which is repeated in a variety of keys and characters throughout the 40-minute work. These Promenades have in common changing meters and strategically placed eighth notes that portray a less-than-graceful awkwardness. They fairly represent Moussorgsky’s moving from one painting to another with a heavy limp that revealed his own physiognomy. It may have even given us a peek at the alcoholism that began upon learning of the death of his mother, a passing which affected him greatly. Sometimes the Promenades precede each picture. Other times, Moussorgsky seems to be standing in front of two pictures and steals a gaze at one before completely finishing looking at the other. Ravel challenges the listener to hear sounds not always associated with a symphony orchestra such as a saxophone singing the ballad of a troubadour before an old castle. Then there’s the tuba in the altissimo register providing us with the complaints of an old ox pulling a loaded cart. A piccolo, snare drum, and tiny cymbals peck at an egg shell before the newly-hatched chick falls in exhaustion, his work accomplished. Snarling brass make a gnome seem larger than life. Seeing the pictures themselves is far less important than the pictures you conjure in the same way as Shakespeare exhorted you to “work your thoughts” (Henry V) in order to see the magic created by Moussorsgky and then Ravel many years later after the composer’s death.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: The Sequel” featuring Sara Melissa Aldana, winner of the CodaBow prize at the Mary West Solo Competition, as soloist. The concert takes place on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To learn more about the concert, click here, or to order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.

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“Music in 3D: The Sequel” Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share Manny’s Musings, thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. Please enjoy this concert preview and check back next week for more of “Manny’s Musings”!

The story of Le Chasseur Maudit (1883) comes to us from a poem by Gottfried Berger, a German writer from the late 1700s who had borrowed and altered the original Norse legend of “The Wild Hunter.”

Cesar Franck, composer

Cesar Franck, composer

From the start, let’s be clear about one thing: the “Accursed Hunter” Frenchman Cesar Franck portrays in his tone poem has not a particularly winning personality. A devoted Catholic church organist, Franck provides for us a vivid musical cautionary tale about observing the Sabbath. The Huntsman has a fairly odious habit of going hunting on the Lord’s Day despite the presence of a White Knight who appears to admonish him not to do so for once but an influential Black Knight helps the Hunter choose otherwise.

Strike one.

On his way to the forest he is beseeched by an old woman to not travel through her field with his entourage of horses and men for it would surely ruin her harvest. Once again, the White Knight appeals to him to do the right thing only to be subverted by the Black Knight. The Hunter runs roughshod over the woman’s field and ruins her future meager earnings.

Strike two.

The Hunter finds his prey in short order, a beautiful stag, who seeks refuge in the home of an old hermit. The hermit makes an impassioned plea on behalf of the animal but the Hunter’s heart is tainted beyond repair and remorse. He orders the old man’s house burned in order to smoke the animal out so it can be taken as his prize.

Strike three

Strike three.
The Hermit is killed in the fire and at the moment he dies the Hunter finds himself changing, his very soul transfiguring into that of a phantom. He is surrounded by the most evil of spirits but particularly those of his once-loyal dogs who have now been charged with chasing him through eternity with a yearning to tear him to shreds.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: The Sequel” featuring Sara Melissa Aldana, winner of the CodaBow prize at the Mary West Solo Competition, as soloist. The concert takes place on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To learn more about the concert, click here, or to order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.

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A season-ending thank you!

Thank you to all who attended the final concert of our 2013-14 season. We had a wonderful time transporting you to the afterlife, performing a little-known piece about a dying swan and surrounding you with the sounds of the Pines of Rome. We hope you will join us for one – or all – of the concerts in our 2014-15 season, which we will be announcing soon.

One of the ways that you can support the Bloomington Symphony, besides attending concerts, is to join us as a donor. More information about how to donate is available on our Support page.

Please be sure to check back here in the coming months to hear the announcement of our new concertmaster, and to learn more about our upcoming season. You can also join our e-mail list by completing the form at the bottom of the page and “like” our Facebook page.

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BSO to perform with Emily Saathoff, Violin in April 2014

April 13 seems a long time from now, but we are looking forward to the opportunity to play the first movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Emily Saathoff at our concert, “Music in 3D.”

Ms. Saathoff was recently named the Grand Prize winner of MNSOTA (Minnesota String Orchestra Teachers Association) Mary West Solo Competition. Part of the prize is the chance to play with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra – Minnesota. Please join us in congratulating Ms. Saathoff and come to hear her play one of the violin’s great concerti!

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