People love a good story, and composers of classical music know how to tell one. Benjamin Del Vecchio, director of the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir, has chosen several examples of dramatic stories to present to the public on Feb. 22 and 24.
Avon Intermediate School Strings perform side by side with the orchestra for Haydn's second movement of Symphony No. 94, the "Surprise" Symphony, which contains the famous theme of a simple melody played softly, then - fortissimo! One of 12 "London Symphonies," Haydn's motive in composing this piece was to offer something new and memorable.
Hendricks Symphony Orchestra opens with Overture to the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart. Based on the tale of that infamous seducer of all women, Don Juan, this work is an example of opera buffa, both a comedy and melodrama.
The choir joins the orchestra with the Coronation Scene from the opera Boris Godunov. Loosely based on the life of a tsar of the same name at the turn of the 17th century, Boris Godunov was Mussorgsky's only opera, and Rimsky-Korsakov is credited with the orchestration for most modern performances. Returning guest soloist Cody Medina (baritone) sings the lead role.
Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Richard Strauss completes the first part of the program. Strauss' career spanned well into the 20th century, and his music reflects the contemporary sound. Till Eulenspiegel is a tone poem. Music tells the story of the whimsical German folk hero, Till. Two repeating themes represent his character: a horn melody that ends in three long loud notes and a clarinet that plays a tune giving the listener a sense of Till's craftiness.
Following intermission is Mussorgsky's tone poem, Night on Bald Mountain. Unfortunately for the composer, no one wanted to play it, not even when he added vocals. Again, Rimsky-Korsakov revamped it for orchestra, and the piece debuted five years after Mussorgsky's death.