|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Join the Musical Conversation
By Susan Stanton, Technical Services Coordinator
October 4, 2006
If you like (or want to like) classical music and are looking for a funny, smart group of people to talk about it with and learn even more, look no further than the Natrona County Public Library. The popular “Musical Conversations” series, co-sponsored by the library and the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, is held on Thursday afternoons from 5:30-6:30 p.m. before each of the symphony’s Saturday evening concerts.
Wyoming Symphony Orchestra conductor Jonathan Shames discusses music to be performed at the concert and how that music connects to larger themes of art and history.
The lively, stimulating sessions include refreshments and feature CD recordings of the works discussed, as well as excerpts performed by Shames on the piano. Library materials relating to discussed topics are also on display and available for check-out.
The series begins with a discussion October 5 about how the soulful blues and up-tempo numbers of George Gershwin and “Duke” Ellington made it into the concert hall. Two jazz tone-poems, Gershwin’s “American in Paris” and Ellington’s “Harlem,” will be discussed, as well as Gershwin's classic Piano Concerto and Ellington’s suite “The River.”
The series continues November 16 with a discussion of “Composers in Protest.” Beethoven and Shostakovich both denounced tyranny in their works--Beethoven attacking Napoleon and tyrants of past history, Shostakovich occupied all his life with the real-life confrontation he and the Russian people had with Stalin. We'll explore Shostakovich's great Symphony No. 10 during this Conversation, as well as Beethoven's Egmont Overture, and give a quick tour of the Cello Concerto of Miklos Rosza, who came to this country in 1939, a refugee of the conflict in Europe.
“Movie Madness” is the theme of the February 8 conversation. As in opera, but with a subtlety very much their own, composers have been able to underline, intensify, and vitalize the relatively new art of accompanying movies. In this Conversation, we'll listen to some of the best-known and most innovative of these scores: Copland’s ground-breaking and very influential “Heiress,” Herrmann’s great accompaniment to Hitchcock, the soaring, romantic music of Korngold and Raksin, Corigliano's “Altered States,” and Leonard Bernstein’s great “West Side Story.”
The Heart of German Romance will be featured in March 15th’s Conversation. You’ll hear the excitement and spontaneity in Weber and Schumann, as they break free of classical restraints to speak in their own, unique voices. We’ll also experience the deep nostalgia for just that classicism in the heart-breaking music of Johannes Brahms, Schumann’s protégé and a late Romantic who worshipped most of all the lost music of the past.
The series concludes April 19 with a talk about works “Made or Played in America.” In this Conversation, we'll look at Joan Tower's newly written work “Made In America” as well as other great American-made works --Hindemith’s exhilarating “Metamorphoses,” and Daniel Asia’s “Black Light” (an orchestration of music written especially for Shames), a work both emotional and dance-like.
We hope you’ll “join the conversation!” For further information, please contact your library at 237-4935 x120
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