Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Prep for the summer symphony

Neale gives library lecture for the curious music mind


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony music director Alasdair Neale hosts a symphony lecture to preview the season.

Music appreciation is the life-blood of a symphony. Creating and performing classical music is a timeless art form, which can never have enough discussion because there is always something new to learn.

Making sure that classical music lovers of the Wood River Valley stay educated and informed about their favorite symphonies, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony's music director, Alasdair Neale, will conduct a free symphony lecture on Tuesday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m. at The Community Library in Ketchum.

"Up Beat with Alasdair" will discuss the upcoming symphony season from July 29 to Aug. 13, and will provide some insight into the performance and importance of two classical works--John Adams' "Short Ride in Fast Machine" and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Opus 36. Both works will be performed for opening night of the summer season.

In partnership with The Community Library, the Summer Symphony wanted to do a lecture preceding the summer concerts because a lecture earlier this year on Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 had proved to be very successful. Mahler's Symphony No. 5 will be performed for the closing of the season.

"I'm excited about doing them both," Neale said. "Adams' music is the most widely performed of contemporary classical composers."

Neale said Adams' work is very straightforward and appeals to symphony goers because, like earlier classical music, it is tonal music. He said the work has a great deal of energy and is a great opener for the season.

"It is a very festive and welcoming piece of modern music," Neale said. "It premiered in 1986 and in the larger scheme of things compared to how it is handled now, it has become a classic, and it is considered part of the standard repertoires."

The second piece to be performed at the opening of the summer symphony, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, holds a great deal of emotion, and is a classic work that many listeners will appreciate and know.

"Tchaikovsky is never afraid of confronting the whole range of human expression," Neale said. "We find it all, from terror to whimsical. Ultimately, the tenderness of the first movement and a life-affirming great finale is like a juggernaut."

Neale said he plans to be spontaneous and will spend much time talking about Tchaikovsky's first movement because it is so grand. With Adams, Neale said he can talk about the piece in its entirety because it is only four minutes long, allowing him to play it more than once.

"My enthusiasm for the music will hopefully give a sense of anticipation," Neale said. "There is a visceral excitement to this music. No matter how good it sounds on CD, there is no substitute for hearing it live."

For more information, contact the Symphony Office at 622-5607.




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