MUSIC: CSPhil – The Great

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Conductor: Marcelo Lehninger Date: November 12, 2016 White Gleam of Our Bright Star Courtney Bryan OK, I'll admit it: I really didn't "get" this piece. Perhaps I'm not an astute listener for this type of musical arrangement, but it almost sounded to me like the band was still warming up during this tribute to "America the Beautiful." Maybe I'm biased. The first commissioned piece of the 90th season was fantastic, complex, and riveting while this one felt a little . . . wanting? Of course, again, I don't really consider myself to be of the most discerning of musical tastes, especially when it comes to the Philharmonic. My take is usually "older is better," so time will tell whether this piece stands up against the others. Violin Concerto No. 5 Henri Vieuxtemps Up until this Masterworks performance, I had never heard of Henri Vieuxtemps. Consequently, I wasn't sure what to expect in his fifth Violin Concerto. With the stage filled with the string section and not...
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MUSIC: CSPhil – Star Trek: The Final Frontier

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Conductor: Josep Caballé Domenech Date: October 29, 2016 As someone who has only seen a smattering of Star Trek episodes and movies, I wasn't sure what to expect for this night of orchestrated music. Up until about Deep Space 9, I could recognize the opening themes for the different series, but anything after that would be new to me. I am a fan of a few of the early Star Trek films, as well as a few of the reboot ones (not Beyond, though), but only the newer ones have captivated me musically. Of course, that's probably because I enjoy the musical stylings of Michael Giacchino. While I can understand the heavier reliance on the music from the Star Trek movies, due to their ease of orchestration, the music from some of the episodes was equally as moving. This consistency and range really drove home that Star Trek isn't about the action for which Star Wars is best known, but more...
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MUSIC: CSPhil – Citizen Without a Country

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Conductor: Josep Caballé Domenech Date: October 23, 2016 Symphonic Overture "America, The Beautiful" Wang Jie Another of the commissioned pieces for the 90th season of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, this Symphonic Overture was written as a fugue to evoke the silhouetted profile of "America's mountain" - Pike's Peak. As a mountain climber myself, I could hear the rising melodies that brought the listener to the top of this iconic mountain, but I had a hard time determining if the piece ended at the apex of Pike's Peak (which it sounded like it did), or if it completed the whole profile of the silhouette. Nevertheless, it was a fitting tribute to the song it was honoring and another great first performance. Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra Antonín Dvořák I'm a fan of Dvorak. One of my most favorite pieces of all time (if not the most favorite overall) is by him, so I was definitely looking forward to this piece. Seeing as the...
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MUSIC: CSPhil – Francesca Da Rimini

Francesca Da Rimini Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Year: 1876 Back when I was in college, I would go to the Denver Philharmonic and attend the lectures given before the piece was played. This allowed me to get some background on the piece before I listened to it being played by the orchestra of musicians. It was in these lectures where I learned that Beethoven's 5th Symphony started with morse code for the letter "V", signifying "victory." Overall, these lectures gave me a greater understanding of the piece of music so that I could appreciate it on a deeper level. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of a history lesson to bring out the "aha" moments when listening to a piece of music. Through a multimedia production, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has gone above and beyond in expanding my understanding of the Tchaikovsky piece Francesca Da Rimini. In their presentation, I realized that the composers of bygone eras were able to bring the stories...
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MUSIC: CSPhil – Symphonic Dances

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Conductor: Josep Caballé Domenech Date: September 17, 2016 This year, my wife and I decided to go to the symphony more. With this year being the 90th anniversary of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, they pulled out all the stops and have a great lineup. As a result, we ended up essentially getting season tickets. While it's difficult for me to really "review" pieces of music like these, since they've been around for a long time, I'll merely give my impressions on the following set from the first event of the 90th season of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. Some of these impressions come in the form of stories, so if you get a chance to listen to these pieces, read along and hopefully you'll get what I'm trying to convey through the piece. For Spacious Skies Anthony DiLorenzo Having never been to a "World Premiere" of a song before, this was quite a treat. The Philharmonic commissioned a number of pieces based on "America the...
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