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English music, 20th century music and movie music are all themes of this concert. Although the Vaughan Williams piece was written in 1936, the Arnold in 1960 and the Arnell in 1992, they were all active, famous and familiar composers in the England of the 1950s.
All three symphonies are strikingly cinematic. That’s not surprising, as all three composers wrote film music, and all are well known as Symphonists: Arnold and Vaughan Williams wrote nine symphonies each, and Arnell wrote six (plus a “Sinfonia Quasi Variazione” that he said was ‘really his 1st Symphony”).
Haydn’s Morning, Mid-Day, and Evening symphonies, now called the “Day Trilogy,” were the first he wrote after taking the appointment as Deputy Kapellmeister (Music Master) at the Court of Prince Nikolaus I. Esterhazy, “The Magnificent,” in 1761. Haydn meant to both establish himself and take over from the Kapellmeister by showing skills that his older colleague could only dream of.
The innovative symphonies in the trilogy are in a hybrid form, with solos for all the principal players in the orchestra (music buffs may say they sound as much like a concerto grosso as a symphony). Haydn was wooing the musicians in the court orchestra, who received additional pay for playing solos! The highly sophisticated music was a delightful shock to the court. Sure enough, he was soon in charge of all music for the Prince.
The depiction of a sunrise at the opening of Symphony No. 6 is deeply symbolic of a new beginning for Haydn, and the beginning of a new era of music. The Classical era of musical composition began with these symphonies, succeeding the Baroque era of Bach and Handel, and realized brilliantly by such pupils of Haydn as Mozart and Beethoven.
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One of Bach’s most unusual creations, the oratorio recounts the last days in the life of Jesus, based on the Luther Bible, Martin Luther’s own German translation from the Greek, through the voices of The Evangelist, Jesus, and Pontius Pilate. The MusicaNova Singers, comprising the finest professional singers in the Valley of the Sun, perform Bach’s glorious arias and choruses, joined by the renowned MusicaNova Orchestra, playing the original orchestration on period instruments. In a unique feature, the oratorio will be sung in English (Novello edition) and audience members are invited to sing along with the many hymn-like chorales as they did in Bach’s day.
A pre-concert discussion at 2 PM, led by Dr. Bruce Johnson, pastor of Scottsdale Presbyterian, and Warren Cohen, MusicaNova Music Director, explores backgrounds of both the text and music.
The idea of traveling through music is central to this program. First, the Ibert piece Ports of Call, imagines a musical journey on a Mediterranean cruise, as you stop off at various points along the way. The Poulenc Piano Concerto was influenced the composer’s travels to Bali, where he integrated gamelan sounds into the musical fabric.
Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto sounds like jazz had infused the Danish character of the music, and the Rameau Suite from Les Indes Galantes is a musical journey through the New World — a truly exotic location for an 18th Century French composer. The incredible “Danse des Sauvages” swings like a ragtime number, and was inspired by Rameau hearing Native American music at an exhibition in Paris some years before he wrote the opera!
In all of these works the exotic elements are integrated in a style that is distinctive to the composer, whose identity remains intact even as he journeys musically into another realm.
General Admission $20 – Seniors and Students $15
Under 18 free with a paid admission – Available online or at the door
MusicaNova Orchestra Concerts are supported in part by grants from the
Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, the Scottsdale League for the Arts, and Tempe Arts Grants