Monthly Archives: May 2013

CSYO Chicago Tour

Publicity time, people.

I’m taking my orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra on a tour to Chicago, IL, the site of my collegiate and post-collegiate years.  Worlds are about to collide.

THIS SATURDAY we’re playing at this beautiful historic high school on the north side in Rogers Park, just around the corner from a zillion Ethiopian restaurants.  So please, make a night of it!

Here’s two highly embarrassing promotional videos for the tour.  The first is me talking to a camera. The lighting, wardrobe, and make-up crews had the day off.  You guys.  My hair is SO flat, and nobody even thought to tell me.

Here is a tantalizing snippette I took with my phone on the podium the other day.  Chicago, orchestral choreography is about to come your way, and I can only hope that you’re prepared to cope with it.

I wish the quality were clearer so you could see how those kids are all mugging for the camera.  A bunch of hams!  I dare say they’ve learned from the best.

In summation: come to my concerts in Chicago.  Did I mention we’re playing all 20th & 21st century music?  And that they’re FREE?

Saturday, May 25, 4:00 pm
Senn High School, featuring the YOURS Project Orchestra

Bernstein, West Side Story Overture
Debussy, “Fêtes”
Hanson, Suite from Merry Mount
Higdon, SkyLine
Marquez, Danzon No. 2

Sunday, May 26, 10:15 am
Adler Planetarium Plaza

Bernstein, West Side Story Overture
Higdon, SkyLine
Hanson, Suite from Merry Mount
Glière, Russian Sailors’ Dance
Williams, Harry Potter Symphonic Suite
Marquez, Danzon No. 2

Is it Debussy or an English period drama soundtrack?

It’s time for everybody’s favorite game, “Is it Debussy or an English period drama soundtrack?” in which you, the listener, have to decide of the following excerpt is a) the anonymous soundtrack to a BBC period drama or b) an obscure vocal work by a famous French composer?

If you guessed (a), you, my friend, are wrong.  This is by Claude Debussy, and it’s from a piece called “La Damoiselle Élue” that I just had to learn for this year’s May Festival (and that I subsequently fell in love with.)  It’s one of those pieces that manages to be ravishingly beautiful and soporific at the same time (for more such works see: Debussy, Claude and Mozart, W.A.)

Just to clarify, here’s how it more likely would have gone if it had been written for British network television:

Later in the series (perhaps during the final scene even, when the lovers meet each other again as snow falls around them) there would be a wordless choir in addition to the string wash.

You guys should seriously give “La D. É.” a listen, and if you do, tell me if you think it isn’t the most Puccini-esque piece in Debussy’s output (it sounds a lot like “La Rondine”. Is that the most Debussyy piece in Puccini’s output? Discuss.)

[Also, as far as BBC scoring goes, I continue to be impressed by whoever wrote the score for that episode of Two Fat Ladies when they talk about Wagner.]