There’s a reason why symphony orchestras have been a mainstay of music for centuries. In this stirring and unforgettable night, the ESO will be put on display with timeless classics, Broadway tunes, music from the movies, and more. YYYY/MM/DD
Orchestra on Parade
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
Steven Reineke, conductor (pictured)
There’s a reason why symphony orchestras have been a mainstay of music for centuries. The range, the power, and the palette of sound attained by an orchestra cannot be matched. A night not to be missed by any fan of the orchestra.
$79 Dress Circle (A)
$69 Terrace (B)
$59 Orchestra (C)
$39 Upper Circle (D)
$29 Gallery (E)
Tickets subject to applicable service charges.
Bill & Mary Jo Robbins
Swan Lake, Op. 20: Scène
J. STRAUSS II
Unter Donner und Blitz (“Thunder and Lightning”): Polka, Op.324
Suite bergamasque: Clair de lune (arr. Dragon)
Capriccio espagnol: Fandango asturiano
Tsiganochka (“Two Guitars”) (arr. Dragon)
Ar Hyd y Nos (“All Through the Night”) (arr. Dragon)
Czárdás (arr. Dragon)
Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ”: 2nd mvmt – Maestoso
INTERMISSION (20 minutes)
Turkey in the Straw (arr. Dragon)
Four Strong Winds (arr. Lapalme)
Seventy-Six Trombones (from The Music Man) (arr. Anderson)
March of the Siamese Children (from The King and I) (arr. Bennett)
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story: Mambo
Die Dreigroschenoper (“The Threepenny Opera”): Mack the Knife (arr. Reineke)
E.T. – Adventures on Earth
program subject to change
Orchestra on Parade – Program Notes
Tonight’s conductor, Steven Reineke (b. 1970), knows a thing or two about getting an orchestra, and its audience, going. A noted composer as well as one of the most sought-after pops conductors in the world, Mr. Reineke has written several pieces which have become staples for American orchestras. Celebration Fanfare was originally written as a brilliant and imposing concert opener dedicated to the late Erich Kunzel (longtime conductor of the Cincinnati Pops) in 2008.
Swan Lake was the first of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840-1893) great ballet scores. It premiered at the Bolshoi in 1877, and despite its initial reception, it has gone on to become one of the most often-performed and best-loved ballets. Like his other two (Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker), Swan Lake’s music is filled with memorable melodies and beautiful orchestration.
Strauss waltzes were the epitome of Viennese refinement and elegance. But the many, many balls at which Strauss orchestras performed in the waning years of the 19th century were also occasions for merriment and fun. That’s where Strauss polkas come in. The many polkas Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) wrote provided contrast and energy at the lavish parties all Vienna danced to at the time. Unter Donner und Blitz (“Under Thunder and Lightning”), composed in 1868, earned its name from its madcap overuse of percussion. Laid out in an A-B-A format, the “A” section features loud timpani rolls every four bars, with cymbal crashes in between. The “B” section actually begins a little more quietly, but that scarcely lasts a bar before the cymbals and drums return. The first section returns in a note-for-note repeat, and the concluding chords are predictably boisterous.
This most famous of all Claude Debussy’s (1862-1918) works is the third movement from a four-movement suite written for solo piano called the Suite bergamasque. Clair de lune (“Moonlight”) is marked Andante très expressif in the piano score, and its haunting and memorable melody is indeed most expressive. It has been refashioned for any number of instruments, and tonight’s performance is the first of several arrangements for orchestra we will hear tonight by Carmen Dragon, famous as the composer/arranger for many years of the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra – and peripherally as the father of Daryl “Captain” Dragon, of the Captain and Tennille.
“The opinion formed by both critics and the public that the Capriccio espagnole is a brilliant ‘magnificently orchestrated piece’ is wrong. The Capriccio is a brilliant ‘composition for orchestra’.” So said Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), who penned the work in 1887, and he further explained what he meant by his statement. “The change of timbres, the felicitous choice of melodic designs and figuration patterns, exactly suiting each kind of instrument, brief virtuoso cadenzas for instruments solo, the rhythm of the percussion instruments, constitute here the very essence of the composition, and not its garb. The Spanish themes, of dance character, furnished me with rich material for putting orchestral effects in use.” The exciting orchestral showcase is in five uninterrupted sections. The final section is a Fandango, introduced by the trombones.
We stay in Russia for the next work – in fact, it is a traditional Russian folk song. Tsiganochka, or “Two Guitars,” is popular enough to have been arranged for nearly every instrumental combination one could think of, from full orchestra to (logically enough) two guitars. During the heyday of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Carmen Dragon recorded many albums’ worth of internationally-flavoured arrangements for orchestra. His version of “Two Guitars” was released on a 1957 album called Gypsy!, and also featured the famous Czárdás (see below).
Ar Hyd y Nos (“All Through the Night”) is one of the most famous Welsh traditional songs. It is used to represent Wales in a pageant of nationalistic songs presented on the last Night of the Proms, a famous summer concert series in London. John Gay used the tune in his seminal 1728 The Beggar’s Opera. It is also a favourite of Welsh choirs. Tonight it will be heard in an orchestral version arranged by Carmen Dragon, the former conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Pops Orchestra.
The Czárdás is a traditional Hungarian folk dance, yet the most famous example of it was composed by an Italian, Vittorio Monti (1868-1922). You’ll know the tune as soon as you hear it, and you’ll also know it as a whirling and bravura piece for violins. Tonight’s version is yet another orchestral gem arranged by the great Carmen Dragon.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a frequent, very welcome, and much fêted visitor to London. His “Organ” Symphony was commissioned by London’s Philharmonic Society (it wasn’t yet the “Royal” Philharmonic at the time). “I gave everything to it I was able to give,” he said of its composition, “What I have done, I will never do again.” The main second part, which we hear tonight, begins aggressively, with the work’s main “motto” theme returning as the basis for a robust Scherzo, with touches of Mendelssohnian lightness in the woodwinds. The organ falls silent once whle the orchestral texture is made more transparent with some dazzling passages for piano four-hands. The organ, at last, is given full vent as the final section begins. The main theme returns now as the basis of a fugue, and the might and power of the organ is matched by the full intensity of the large orchestral forces. Designed to leave its audiences breathless, the work has been doing just that since its first, spectacularly successful premiere.
It may seem as if we go from the sublime to the ridiculous in following Saint-Saëns’ towering symphony with the more-than-ubiquitous Turkey in the Straw. Yet the fact that this simple, traditional American folk song has become so utterly cliché comes at the expense – and perhaps because of – the fact that it’s a fine, catchy tune. Likely the first folk song any American child is ever exposed to, we present it tonight dressed up in fine orchestral colours courtesy, once more, of Carmen Dragon, who produced tonight’s arrangement for a recording called A Treasury of Folk Melody, Volume 1: American.
Canada’s contribution to what is called “pop music” is at least as long, as varied, and as noteworthy as any country’s. A few seasons ago, the Edmonton Symphony presented a gift to our province when it commissioned the talented young Music Director of the Red Deer Symphony, Claude Lapalme, to arrange one of Canada’s best pop songs for orchestra. And what better – or more obvious – choice than the unofficial anthem of Alberta, Ian Tyson’s (b. 1933) iconic Four Strong Winds?
Meredith Willson’s (1902-1984) The Music Man was undoubtedly a showcase vehicle for its original star, Robert Preston. It’s almost impossible to think of anyone else other than Preston inhabiting the role of Harold Hill, the con artist who tried to snow the residents of River City, Iowa, only to fall in love. The original run, which began in 1957, went on for nearly 1400 performances, and won the 1958 Tony Award for Best Musical. Seventy-Six Trombones is a song in which Hill besots the residents of the Midwest town, describing a magnificent marching band.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth collaboration was The King and I. Based loosely on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became governess to the children of the King of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s, the Broadway show opened in 1951, and ran for over 1200 performances and has been revived on Broadway three times since. As with many of Richard Rodgers’ scores, Robert Russell Bennett made the arrangements, including tonight’s rendition of the popular March of the Siamese Children.
West Side Story was a bold undertaking for its creators, particularly Jerome Robbins, the great Broadway choreographer who conceived the idea of updating Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the ghettos of contemporary New York. But he had heavyweight help in realizing his vision: the book was written by Arthur Laurents, and Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) penned the magical score. And a young talent got one of his early breaks in the theatre world in penning the show’s lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. In the end, of course, the gamble paid off: the 1957 production won two Tonys, and it has become one of the most celebrated musicals ever. The Mambo is from Act I’s scene the dance at which the rival gangs challenge each other – the Puerto Rican “Sharks” dance to this stylish Latin music, and the “Jets” counter with a dance of their own.
A new generation of film scorers have learned much from their predecessors, and in the music Michael Giacchino (b. 1967) has written for the rebooted Star Trek franchise of J.J. Abrams, the tradition of sweeping, exciting scores to cinematic flights of imagination is still in good hands. Giacchino cut his teeth writing music for video games, and aside from becoming a bit of a recent Pixar favourite (scoring Ratatouille, Up, and Cars 2), has developed a partnership with Abrams not unlike other director/composer pairings in the movies (Hitchcock/Herrmann, Spielberg/Williams, Fellini/Rota, Leone/Morricone). Star Trek (2011) was the first Abrams film in the new canon of Star Trek adventures (two others have followed so far).
"You are about to hear an opera for beggars. Since this opera was intended to be as splendid as only beggars can imagine, and yet cheap enough for beggars to be able to watch, it is called The Threepenny Opera." So went a draft of a spoken prologue to The Threepenny Opera, a parody play with music, based on John Gay’s 1728 A Beggar’s Opera. The 1928 German work, with a script by Bertolt Brecht and a jazz-inspired score by Kurt Weill (1900-1950), is a critique of German society between the world wars. By far and away, its most famous song is The Ballad of Mack the Knife, not least because a variation on it became a hit song for Bobby Darin, and won a Grammy as Record of the Year in 1960. Tonight’s arrangement is by conductor Steven Reineke.
We conclude tonight with a concert suite arranged from music written for a film that was, for a time, the highest-grossing movie ever. Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extraterrestrial did something few science-fiction films had done – it made its alien main character sympathetic, even heroic. Moreover, the story unfolds through the eyes of the children who befriend E.T. – innocents who are not poisoned by the prejudices of the adults of the story, making it a hit as a rousing family entertainment as well. As with all Spielberg movies except one (The Color Purple), Spielberg had John Williams (b. 1932) write the music for the movie. So let us send you home on your own flying bicycle this evening.
Program notes ©2017 by D.T. Baker
Steven Reineke has established himself as one of North America's leading conductors of popular music. Mr. Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Pops Conductor Designate of the Houston Symphony. He previously held the posts of Principal Pops Conductor of the Long Beach and Modesto Symphony Orchestras and Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Ottawa (National Arts Centre), Detroit, Milwaukee and Calgary.
As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America, including performances by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband Eric Gabbard.
Mr. Reineke last appeared with the ESO in June 2016.
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.
The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.
Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.
The Winspear Centre can provide an assistive listening device if you require one. Please visit the concierge desk in the main lobby.
Dining Near the Winspear
The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether you're seeking dinner before the show or a late night treat after, you can find it at one of these restaurants located within a few blocks of the Winspear Centre.
At the Event
What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.
Perfume & Scents
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.
Food & Beverage
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.
Click here for more information on planning your experience.