By Dale Gedcke
The mystery maestro can now be revealed. The new conductor and music director for the Oak Ridge Community Orchestra is Marcelo Urias.
Those long familiar with the ORCO will recall that Urias was an enthusiastic conductor of the orchestra from February 2009 through September 2010. In the meantime, he was working diligently on a doctorate in choral conducting, which he received from the Indiana University School of Music in 2014.
Now, he has returned to build an exciting program of music that everyone is going to enjoy. Uriah maintains strong roots in the area, with full-time employment as music director at the Cokesbury United Methodist Church in West Knoxville.
For a free concert on Saturday, August 29, Maestro Marcelo has programmed the energetic “Roman Carnival Overture” by Berlioz and the vibrant “Capriccio Italienne” by Tchaikovsky.
In addition, he has arranged a surprise bonus of famous and fabulous opera arias sung by April Hill, Kathryn Marvel, Taylor Stone, and Ryan Colbert. Their performances will be the “whipped cream and cherry on top of the banana-split sundae.” This will be a flavorful program to enjoy on a Saturday afternoon.
To further whet your appetite, here are a few interesting notes on the two main pieces.
When Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composes, you can count on him to use every instrument in the orchestra at its optimum, achieving color, rhythm, and a melodic line that creates beautiful and vibrant music. “Capriccio Italienne” is no exception. It was composed in 1880, after he made a trip to Rome, during which he observed the Carnival in full swing. It recalls that eclectic, festive atmosphere by capturing Italian folk music and street songs.
Part way through, Tchaikovsky features strains of Spanish music reminiscent of Mikhail Glinka’s “Spanish Pieces.” The opening is distinctive, with the solo trumpets mimicking a bugle call, played by an Italian cavalry regiment, that Tchaikovsky overheard from his hotel. This is a captivating, energetic composition from a master.
Hector Berlioz was probably underappreciated during his lifetime. During the 20th century, there was a rediscovery of some of his better music. As a result, circa a handful of his compositions have become popular. One of the most dramatic and mesmerizing is his “Roman Carnival Overture.” This 1844 composition extracted material and themes from his 1838 opera, “Benvenuto Cellini,” including some music from the opera’s carnival scene—hence the overture’s title.
After a brief energetic opening, that foretells the eventual frenetic pace, it settles into a beautiful and wistful English horn solo, followed by a slow and intensely expressive melody, punctuated by a percussive brass undercurrent. From there, the pace picks up and remains exciting all the way to the end, with a plethora of variations on the Italian theme. This is Berlioz at his best, which is why orchestras and audiences both derive tremendous enjoyment from this masterpiece.
To enjoy these compositions, join the concert on Saturday, August 29, at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Oak Ridge, on the corner of the Oak Ridge Turnpike and LaFayette Drive. Admission is free. But modest donations at the door to support the orchestra’s routine operating expenses will be appreciated.
The Oak Ridge Community Orchestra (ORCO) is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization. Anyone wishing to regularly participate in the orchestra is encouraged to contact Personnel Manager Cyndi Jeffers at [email protected]. Usually, we can accommodate additional string players, and occasionally there are openings in the brass, woodwind, and percussion sections. The orchestra welcomes experienced musicians of all ages.
The Oak Ridge Community Orchestra is a rewarding venue for instrumentalists who enjoy playing for an appreciative audience, with music ranging from Baroque through Classical to Contemporary. For more information about the ORCO, visit www.OakRidgeCommunityOrchestra.com.
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