South Orange Symphony to present nature-themed concert

Photo Courtesy of Innes Borstel

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Symphony is thrilled to return home to South Orange Middle School, 70 N. Ridgewood Road in South Orange, for a free fall concert on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. Susan Haig conducts an exciting nature-themed program, featuring Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s splendid Symphony No. 8 in G major. 

This symphonic favorite blends a variety of Bohemian folk themes and dances in an expressive and exuberant manner, and reflects Dvořák’s deep love of the landscape and folk music traditions. The second movement features solo woodwinds in evocative pastoral scenes, and the third movement is a lilting Slavonic Dance. The first and fourth movements feature exquisite cello melodies and brilliant sections with full brass.

The first half of the concert includes three lively, short works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz von Suppé and Florence Price. Mozart’s comic opera, “Così fan tutte,” or “Women are Like That,” tells the story of two officers who try to seduce each other’s fiancees — with some success. The overture is a showpiece — and workout — for the solo woodwinds.

African American composer Price graduated from the New England Conservatory in 1906, and her many orchestral works are frequently performed by American orchestras. Price’s “Dances in the Canebrakes,” composed shortly before her death in 1953, reflects jazz and ragtime influences, and contrasting dance tempos with descriptive titles, such as “Nimble Feet,” “Tropical Noon” and “Silk Hat and Walking Cane.”

Von Suppé was a 19th-century Austrian composer of many light operas. “Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna” is a brilliant overture and a favorite transcription for concert bands. A military fanfare and curtain-raiser introduces a lovely extended “aria” for solo cello and clarinet. The allegro section features agitated, melodramatic passages for the first violins, and builds up to a fast and festive conclusion. 

This concert is a mask-encouraged event, and marks the South Orange Symphony Orchestra’s 63rd season of free concerts. These concerts have a warm, casual atmosphere, and children 4 years old and up are encouraged to attend; there is room at the back of the hall to move to the music. Audience members are welcome to greet the musicians personally near the stage during intermission and following the concert.