The National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) will host its annual Free Community Concert at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Wednesday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
“An American in Paris” is one of George Gershwin’s most treasured works. It may be second only in popularity to “Rhapsody in Blue,” heard on Opening Night. Listen closely as Gershwin takes you on an exploration of Paris through the eyes of an American tourist. You will hear the Parisian car horns interspersed with the occasional blues melody, representing a bout of homesickness. The French atmosphere and street noises triumph at the end culminating in a wild, bombastic finale.
Unlike Gershwin, an American composer portraying the French environment, composer Camille Saint-Saëns was Parisian born. He displayed prodigal abilities in piano and composition, allegedly writing his first piece as early as 3 years old. Saint-Saëns quickly established himself as an important figure in French romanticism.
Matthew Shin, NRO alumni and winner of last year’s Concerto Competition, will once again take the stage to perform the virtuosic “Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto.” Demanding a spectacular feat of technical prowess, this work bursts forth with vigor from the opening and flows abundantly until the last note. Each movement melts into the next, creating a melodious landscape of sound and color.
The evening’s concert will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s mesmerizing work, “Scheherazade.” This dreamy symphonic suite will spark your imagination and carry you to another world as it spins an enchanting tale.
For its premier in 1888, Rimsky Korsakov wrote: “The Sultan Schariar, convinced that all women are false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales, told seriatim, for a thousand and one nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, postponed from day to day the execution of his wife, and finally repudiated his bloody vow entirely.”
Rimsky-Korsakov’s works, particularly “Scheherazade,” were fueled by his fascination with the sea and Far East culture. This infatuation paired with an elaborate imagination shaped a vibrant musical landscape. With brilliant sounds scattered throughout the orchestra, dance motives and colorful imagery, Rimsky Korsakov creates a wildly effervescent setting for the mystical tale.
The first movement opens with a dialogue between the story’s main characters. The brass play a strong and burly theme which depicts the powerful Sultan Schariar. Sultana Scheherazade responds sweetly, voiced by solo violin. Scheherazade entices the Sultan with a tale entitled “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship” characterized by sounds of the waves, retreating and intensifying between instruments of the orchestra.
The second movement, “The Tale of the Kalender Prince,” features oriental themes, heard primarily in the woodwinds. The music alternates between dance-like and militaristic melodies, utilizing every instrument to its full capability.
Scheherazade continues with her captivating tale in movement three, entitled “The Young Prince and the Young Princess.” This portion of the story is about love, introducing a gorgeous, lyrical theme in the strings. The melody is passed around the orchestra and decorated, never losing its virtuosic passion. Dance and military elements intersperse with the love theme throughout, until the voice of Scheherazade emerges in the final moments and sweeps the entire orchestra into a lush statement of her theme.
This event is not ticketed; seating is free general admission. For any questions please call the Riverwalk Center Box Office at (970) 547-3100, or see www.nromusic.com.