SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Symphony concludes its 68th season with the “Orchestral Colors” spring concert on Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. at South Orange Middle School, 70 N. Ridgewood Road, South Orange. Susan Haig of Summit conducts.
This concert features selections from five 19th- and early 20th-century composers. A common theme across these works is exploring how composers use music to express dramatic stories and scenes from daily life.
George Chadwick, 1854-1931, was an American musician, educator and composer. His “Symphonic Sketches” is actually four pieces written to evoke particular American moods and scenes, including Halloween and a vaudeville skit of hobos riding the trains.
Circa 1915, Gustav Holst, 1874-1934, an English composer, started composing “The Planets” as he revisited his youthful interest in mysticism and astrology. The orchestra plays the Jupiter movement, which is said to symbolize abundance, warmth and extroversion. If it sounds familiar, it may be because Jupiter has been adapted as the musical score for a variety of songs and hymns, including the patriotic poem “I Vow to Thee, My Country,” by Sir Cecil Spring Rice in 1921, and Michael Perry’s “O God Beyond all Praise” in 1982, among others.
Charles Gounod, 1818-1893, was a French composer best known for his operas. His first major hit was the opera “Faust,” based on the famous drama by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The orchestra plays the famous ballet scene with its seven short movements.
“Romeo and Juliet” is a familiar story, but Frederick Delius, 1862-1934, based his opera “A Village Romeo and Juliet” not on the Shakespeare version but a story about tragic young lovers in rural Switzerland and their feuding farmer parents. The intermezzo was written to accommodate a lengthy scene change. Unhurried and pastoral, it features Delius’ preoccupation with nature.
The selection by Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1844, is the overture to his one and only ballet: “The Creatures of Prometheus, p. 43.” Given its theatrical setting, it has a lighter and more playful feel than is normally associated with Beethoven.
The South Orange Symphony receives funding in part from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, and matching gift funds from several New Jersey corporations. The balance of funding comes from individual donors.
For more information, visit www.sosymphony.org or visit South Orange Symphony’s Facebook page.