Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm
DEBUSSY: La Mer
DAVID LUDWIG: Pictures from the Floating World
GROFÉ: Grand Canyon Suite
David Amado, conducting
William Short, bassoon
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Debussy: La Mer‑ With Debussy began a new kind of music. Though composers have been influenced by the East for generations (remember Mozart’s Rondo a la Turk), for almost a century, the Orient was anything east of Vienna. With Debussy and his contemporaries, western composers began to look past the Ottoman Empire and into the Far East. Debussy was particularly fascinated with the Javanese Gamelan—an orchestra of percussion instruments whose repeated patterns create an undulating, textural tapestry, whose sound finds its way into much of Debussy’s music.
David Ludwig, familiar to DSO audiences, returns with his Pictures from the Floating Gardens—a work written for my Juilliard classmate, Danny Matsukawa, principal bassoonist of the small orchestra up the road (the Philadelphia Orchestra). To play the part of Danny, we are welcoming back our former principal bassoonist, Billy Short, who when not visiting Delaware, is busy as co-principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Grofè: Grand Canyon Suite: There was, in the 1920s and 30’s an amazing confluence of musical and cultural threads that incubated some amazing hybrid music. Think Rhapsody in Blue, Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra, or the grand symphonic nature of scores to some of the Hollywood classics of the day—like Gone with the Wind, Captian Blood, or Robin Hood. There was a general embrace of cross-pollination. In this atmosphere, Ferde Grofè wrote the Grand Canyon Suite. Filled with cinematic sweep, and graphic musical tone-painting, Grofè blends a populist aesthetic with a fine ear to orchestration and dramatic unfolding.