New World Spins on Old World Traditions

October 2 2021

GRANT HARVILLE
MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR
SEASON SPONSORED BY
D|A|DAVIDSON
Tickets

Why You Shouldn't Miss It

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

Overture to Egmont

Beethoven's heroic music set to Goethe's tragic play. The composer revered Goethe, calling him “the foremost German poet.”

Jennifer Higdon

Celebration Fanfare

Amazing Grace

Two short string works by this Pulitzer and Grammy winner, who is today's most often performed American composer.

​George Gershwin

Rhapsody in Blue
The composer's most popular work. From the first notes, as recognizable as Beethoven's 5th.

William Grant Still, Jr.

Serenade

Pretty and bluesy music with a surprise
Great Falls connection.

Alberto Ginastera

Four Dances from Estancia

It's heart-poundingly rhythmic as it portrays the cowboy/gaucho life on an Argentine ranch.

Acclaimed pianist
Awadagin Pratt
makes his Great Falls Symphony debut

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ADDITIONAL TIDBITS


Ludwig van Beethoven

Egmont Overture

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9 MINUTES

In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture begins somberly, with blasts of sound heralding the oppressive power of the Spanish armies. The introduction segues into an energetic Allegro that captures the indomitable spirit of the popular revolt against the Spanish; the music also highlights Egmont’s heroism in the struggle to save his people. There is a noble rhythmic motif, which Beethoven develops throughout, and the overture ends on a victorious shout.

Jennifer Higdon

Celebration Fanfare

Amazing Grace

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9 MINUTES

Jennifer Higdon is one of America's most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She is a major figure in contemporary Classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto and a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto, and a 2020 Grammy for her Harp Concerto.

 


George Gershwin

Rhapsody in Blue

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16 MINUTES

 

One of the first pieces of “serious” music to contain elements of jazz. Originally titled American Rhapsody, it was changed to incorporate the word “blue,” slang for music unafraid to show its more risqué side. It went on to become his most popular work and established Gershwin’s genius in blending vastly different styles in innovative ways. Written in 1924, it portrays the quintessential New York City of the era. The opening clarinet notes are instantly as recognizable to audiences as Beethoven’s Fifth.

Awadagin Pratt will perform the piano solos of Rhapsody in Blue

BIOGRAPHY

 

Awadagin Pratt, the first African-American pianist to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition, has performed at the White House for Presidents Clinton and Obama, and with major national and world orchestras. He was the first student in the Peabody Conservatory of Music’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin, and conducting.

 

Pratt is acclaimed for his “old-master richness,” musical insight, and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras.

Full biography at awadagin.com.

ROB DAVIDSON

Tickets

William Grant Still, Jr.

Serenade

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7 MINUTES

A pretty, bluesy work originally written for the great cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and later transformed by Still for a commission from Great Falls High School. It was first performed by the school’s band on May 7, 1958 under Paul Shull. Known as the “Dean of Afro-American Composers,” Still composed nearly 200 works that include five symphonies, four ballets, nine operas, chamber music, and choral works. His life was a series of “firsts”—first African American to conduct a major American symphony, first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra, first to have an opera performed by a major opera company and the first to have an opera performed on television.


Alberto Ginastera 

Four Dances from Estancia

13 MINUTES

This is a ballet score that sounds nothing like Tchaikovsky. One of Ginastera’s most popular works, it’s heart-poundingly rhythmic and portrays the excitement, toughness– even violence–of life on an Argentine ranch. The final movement is inspired by the flamboyant malambo dance of the gauchos.

Ranging from intensely rhythmic piano solos to slow, broad, and richly orchestrated sections, Rhapsody in Blue is a study of contrasts in style, musical texture, and color.