Moores brings music to your ears
Overtures, Tuba concertos, tone poems and the Poulenc “Gloria” — an eclectic program — kicks off the Moores School of Music’s fall season on Oct. 1 at the Moores Opera House at 7:30 p.m.
The concert will be the epitome of collaboration, involving the award-winning Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, University Men’s Chorus and the University Women’s Chorus, as well as the Moores School Symphony Orchestra.
“We were fortunate to have an influx of new string players this year,” said Franz Anton Krager, music director of the Moores School Symphony Orchestra. “It’s wonderful for us to be able to show off the sound of the strings.”
One way to do that is to schedule playing the “Russian Easter Festival Overture,” composed by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Krager said that it is a piece that every conductor wants to add to his list at some point, and this is his first opportunity to do so.
The next item is the “Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra” by Roland Szentpali, a Hungarian composer.
The Tuba soloist is Derek Fenstermacher, a Performer’s Certificate student at the Moores School.
“Derek is a star player,” said Krager. “He’s on his way to the New Jersey Symphony to become the principal Tuba player there.”
Attendees of the 2011 International Piano Festival might recognize the next number, which is Ravel’s “Alborada del Gracioso,” from the piano suite “Miroirs.”
The Moores Symphony Orchestra is set to perform the orchestral version under the baton of Pierre-Alain Chevalier.
The grand finale will be Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria.” Poulenc was a French impressionist composer from the 20th century.
The endeavor includes the combined UH choruses, with special thanks to Betsy Cook Weber and Justin Smith for choral preparation.
I also cannot forget to mention Cynthia Clayton, Moores’ fine soprano soloist. Anyone who has had the privilege of hearing her at the Houston Grand Opera — in the guise of Tosca or another heroine — knows her musicianship and artistry is of the highest caliber.
“It’s a huge project,” said Justin Smith, director of the University Men’s Chorus and Concert Women’s Chorus.
“We’ll have around 300 musicians, vocalists and instrumentalists on the stage, so we can expect a huge sound.”
Poulenc’s “Gloria” is an especially apt choice to introduce to audiences a 20th-century sound. While the music can be brittle and harsh, Poulenc offers a respite with humor and silliness — that is, a sense of playfulness and fun, as well as a touch of jazz and sarcasm.
The story behind the work is Poulenc’s religious conversion, which inspired him to write a trio of religiously-inspired works including the “Stabat Mater,” the “Dialogue of the Carmelites” and, of course, the “Gloria.”
“The image that everyone refers to is a memory of Poulenc’s,” Justin Smith said. “In his youth he supposedly saw a group of monks playing soccer, so we have the juxtaposition of serious faith with silliness, humor, delight and joy.”