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Keep it Classical, 10/5/08: Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra Concert by mklaing
October 6, 2008, 4:38 am
Filed under: Keep It Classical | Tags: ,

From the tragic love story of a princess and a military commander to finger-snapping Latin dances, the upcoming Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra concert has something to offer everyone. The orchestra will perform their first concert of the semester this Tuesday, October 7th at 8:00 PM in the Setnor Auditorium of Crouse College.

The eclectic program opens with the Overture to the famous opera, “Aida,’ by Giuseppe Verdi. “Aida” tells the story of an Egyptian military commander, Radames, who is caught in a love triangle with the woman he is supposed to marry and an Ethiopian princess, Aida, who has been taken prisoner and he has fallen in love with. Radames and Aida die tragic deaths in order to be together. The Overture to the opera uses two major themes which foreshadow these events. The first is sensual and uplifting, representing Aida’s love for Radames. The second has a more militant and urgent quality, suggesting the impending difficulties for the ill-fated lovers.

Next on the program is a performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor, featuring faculty soloist Caroline Stinson. Amazingly, this concerto was written in only two weeks, from October 10-24, 1850. Although only four years later, Robert Schumann would start having hallucinations and soon institutionalize himself in a mental hospital, he described this cello concerto as being quite “jolly.” Over time, performers have tended to back away from the lively tempo the Schumann indicated in his score, with the effect of a much darker piece of music than was perhaps originally intended. The SUSO, however, edges on a brisker tempo, and along with the talent and insight of Mrs. Stinson, invokes the vitality of the piece.

Of course, nothing on the program can compare in liveliness to the Leonard Bernstein “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.” The piece literally opens with finger-snaps in the orchestra, so feel free to join in. The symphonic dances are based on Bernstein’s score from the famous musical, and include “Somewhere,” Scherzo, Mambo (shouts from the audience welcome!), Cha-Cha, Meeting Scene, “Cool,’ and Rumble. SUSO conductor James Tapia states that it has been a lifelong dream of his to conduct the Symphonic Dances.

Before heading home to watch the presidential debate on Tuesday night, enjoy an evening of exciting music with the Syracuse University Symphony orchestra and a reception to follow. Hope to see you there!

– Meredith Laing

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