Musical Musings

The Sarasota Orchestra Blog

Much of the world loves to paint Judy Garland as a tragic figure, a stage-and-screen supernova whose impetuous light burned so fiercely it was destined to suddenly gutter out. There are those who believe Garland and her appetite for life were her own undoing. Others blame her premature decline and fatal overdose (in 1969, at age 47) on decades of being eaten alive by an unforgiving industry. Thanks to journalist Herbert Kretzmer, we know Garland herself rejected the notion that she was born under a bad star.

Mozart’s Serenade in B-flat Major, better known by its subtitle Gran Partita, offers a glorious explosion of Classical-era Harmoniemusik for small wind ensembles, which buoyed up many 18th-century garden get-togethers and outdoor parties. Much about the Serenade in B-flat Major is a mystery (its exact year of composition, for instance, or whose scribbling on the manuscript lent the work its enduring nickname).

George Gershwin took his third and final trip to Paris in March of 1928. One afternoon, instead of visiting the Louvre with friends, Gershwin went out on a shopping excursion with a rather unusual list: French taxi horns. These horns weren't souvenirs; they were a crucial element for the orchestration of a new symphonic poem Gershwin had been developing for a couple of months: An American in Paris. The composition paints the scene of an intrepid tourist exploring the French capital, walking off his homesick blues and ultimately embracing the bustling, hectic, but altogether beautiful metropolis. Quacking taxi horns lend An American in Paris its most instantly-recognizable urban noises. For Gershwin, however, they weren't just meant to evoke the authentic sounds of the city. They were essential to making Gershwin's tone poem truly modern music in the implementation of artifacts from the surrounding world.

In a season that affirms Sarasota Orchestra’s vitality and upward trajectory, nine guest conductors will arrive at the podium for the 2019-20 Masterworks and Discover Beethoven concert series. Each conductor rides the wave of an illustrious career, and all are highly sought-after worldwide. What’s more, ten soloists who are electrifying today’s concert halls will share prodigious musical gifts in their interpretations of masterpieces from Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms, and beyond!

In his very first season with Sarasota Youth Orchestra, Jack Gallahan impressed judges with his winning performances during the 2018 Edward and Ida Wilkof Young Artists Concerto Competition. A 16-year-old junior at Pine View School, Gallahan began studying piano at age five, then switched to cello upon joining his school orchestra five years ago. As his innate musical gifts emerged on a new instrument, fellow Pine View students encouraged Gallahan to get involved with the Youth Orchestra.

Violin virtuoso Viviane Hagner makes her debut with Sarasota Orchestra on this season's Masterworks 5 concert, with performances running January 31 to February 3. While Hagner is known for her dedication to new music, critics also laud her seemingly effortless renditions of monumental works for solo violin. Hagner provides two European ports-of-call on this concert's "Round Trip to Paris": Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 5, and Camille Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for violin and orchestra, both widely regarded as virtuosic masterpieces.

At Great Escapes: Shuffle, it's all about giving the people what they want! Each of five performances from January 23 to 27 will be completely unique as audience members take the extraordinary opportunity to call out requests and hear them fulfilled by a live orchestra. Each program opens with Mozart's Overture from Don Giovanni and closes with John Williams' Superman March.

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Reviews

Written byHerald Tribune

 Literally gripping the arms of my seat, I was not the only one propelled on this rollercoaster of delightful music.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Every section and soloist within the orchestra played their role with strength and beauty; every tree proud and tall. Tali served as an excellent guide leading the forces with assured confidence. The overall sound was lush and, yes, intense just where it needed to be.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The Sarasota Orchestra was brimming with bubbling energy...  

Written byHerald Tribune

 A lifetime of musical moments, cinematic in scope, gave every section of the orchestra a leading role at one time or another. Chief among them was the virtuosic solo of concertmaster Daniel Jordan.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 It was a thrill ride resulting in an explosion of audience enthusiasm.  

Written byThe Observer

 Andrew Lane, the Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, knows how to program a winning event and this concert had something for everyone. It also brought in a whole new audience that seemed dazzled by the performances.  

Written byThe Observer

 The Sarasota Orchestra played a program this past weekend filled with so much color, it was like visiting the Louvre.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The performance... was exceptional, bringing new and stunning sonorities from a larger than usual Sarasota Orchestra under the dynamic leadership of Anu Tali.  

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CY Hong

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