By Dale Gedcke
Pop singers do it, movie stars do it, even sophisticated string quartets do it. So, Oak Ridge Community Orchestra said: “Let’s do it. Let’s change our name.”
For the August 20 concert, the Oak Ridge Community Orchestra will be elevating its brand name to the Oak Ridge Philharmonia.
Under that new banner, it will be performing, “An American in Paris Suite” by George Gershwin (arranged by John Whitney), “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns, the “Overture on Russian Themes” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and the first movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40.” More details are offered below. There is also a special surprise for the common man by a famous American composer. See if you can guess what all the fanfare is about from the clues provided.
George Gershwin (1898-1937) captured the sounds and atmosphere of Paris in the 1920s with “An American in Paris,” an almost jazz-like composition originally commissioned for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1928. It is more familiar as the accompaniment to Gene Kelly’s dancing in the 1951 movie of the same name. The version performed in this concert is the condensed arrangement by John Whitney. Near the beginning of the piece, one can hear the taxi horns, and feel the rush of activity in the streets of Paris. A lyrical section of American blues emerges to remind us of the visitor’s nostalgia for home. Abruptly, a fast jazz idiom jerks the listener back into the Paris bustle, and accelerates the music into a hectic, then grandiose ending, that mixes all of the themes. This is one of Gershwin’s most memorable masterpieces. [Read more…]