As part of the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Oak Ridge Community Orchestra will be performing famous and memorable music in Knoxville’s Market Square from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.
The free concert will feature the lively “Figaro Aria” sung by Daniel Webb, the emphatic fourth movement from the “New World Symphony” by Dvořák, the raucous “Polovtsian Dances” by Borodin, and the hand-clapping “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss (Sr.). This is a great way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon while browsing the shops at the Dogwoods Arts Festival.
The “Barber of Seville” is a familiar opera by Gioachino Antonio Rossini, premiering in 1816. The most famous aria from that opera is probably “Largo al Factotum,” in which the central figure, Figaro, vigorously touts his prowess as a barber and local facilitator of “everything.” The articulation and style in this aria are so impressive that Warner Brothers, Walter Lantz, and Hanna Barbera studios couldn’t resist featuring it in cartoon parodies.
The aria will be sung by Daniel Webb, a bass-baritone from Knoxville. Webb’s résumé lists extensive performances on Broadway and the concert stage. He has a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Tennessee. If you dine at Puléo’s Grille, you will be comforted to know that he is on their management team.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer, with a special talent for incorporating the rhythms and idioms of folk music into his orchestral compositions. He was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to compose what is now known as “Symphony No. 9, The New World Symphony,” with a premier performance on December 16, 1893, at Carnegie Hall. In this symphony, Dvořák attempted to capture the essence of America. The familiar fourth movement is emphatic and powerful, making an optimistic statement about the strength of America. Because of its beauty, this symphony is one of the most popular compositions performed by symphony orchestras throughout the world.
Alexander Borodin had an illustrious career as a research chemist. However, he is currently more widely recognized for his hobby, composing music. The “Polovtsian Dances” form an exotic scene with dancers and chorus in his long opera, “Prince Igor.” The music accompanying the dancers is so intense and commanding, it is often performed by orchestras without chorus or dancers. You will recognize the beautifully flowing opening melody as the song, “Strangers in Paradise,” from the Broadway musical, “Kismet,” which adopted Borodin’s music. In the opera, this is the seductive portion of the scene, performed by female dancers. The seduction soon gives way to the inflamed and raucous dancing by the male counterparts, in a frenzied Russian style of dancing. There is a brief reprise of the original melody before the dancing rushes to an intense conclusion. During this piece, it is almost impossible to be a disinterested listener.
Johann Strauss Sr., is well-known for his role in popularizing ballroom dancing in Vienna, and spreading it to the rest of Europe during the early 1800s, with his touring orchestra. It was the beginning of the Viennese Waltz era. Although he is credited with more than 250 compositions, he is most famous for the “Radetzky March.” In 1848, he was commissioned to compose it for a commemoration of the victory by Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky at the Battle of Custoza that same year. Strauss incorporated a song melody that was popular with the soldiers. As a result, the soldiers clapped their hands and stamped their feet in approval when the “Radetzky March” was first played. That established the tradition of the audience clapping their hands to the rhythm, whenever the piece is performed.
The Oak Ridge Community Orchestra performance will be presented on the stage in Market Square. If you are unfamiliar with that location, you can find it adjacent to Union Avenue between Walnut Street and Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. Parking is available in parking garages and parking lots in the downtown area.
While in Market Square to hear the Oak Ridge Community Orchestra, take advantage of the opportunity to visit dozens of visual art booths, a culinary arts stage, other performing acts on three stages, and so much more. For more information on the Dogwood Arts Festival, visit www.dogwoodarts.com.
The Oak Ridge Community Orchestra (ORCO) is a 501(c)3, nonprofit, volunteer organization, performing under the baton of Conductor and Music Director Gabriel Lefkowitz. 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.