Orchestra to Present ‘Baroque Gems;’ Concerto and Aria Winners Featured in Concert

by News Bureau on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 20, 2012 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will present a program of Baroque masterworks as the first of its spring subscription series concerts March 6 at the River Campus.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

The symphony orchestra will perform the famous “Canon” by Johann Pachelbel, as well as George Frideric Handel’s celebrated “Watermusic” and “Royal Fireworks Suite.” Also featured on the program will be Southeast student winners of the Concerto and Aria Competition: Spencer Day of Ballwin, Mo., saxophone, and Matt Gates of Dexter, Mo., trombone. These two students will perform concertos by Milhaud and Bourgeois with the Southeast Missouri Symphony. Sara Edgerton, Southeast faculty member, will conduct the evening’s concert.

The Southeast Missouri Symphony will open with the festive, joyous “Royal Fireworks Suite” by the great Baroque composer, George Frideric Handel. This piece was written in 1748 as part of a grand celebration of the signing of an important peace treaty between England, France and Holland. The celebration, which took part outdoors in London’s Green Park, included elaborate fireworks, accompanied by Handel’s brilliant music, and was enjoyed by up to 12,000 onlookers. The orchestra will then perform the famous “Canon” by Pachelbel. This work has all the hallmarks of the Baroque style, with its ostinato bass line and interweaving upper voices, balancing and elaborating on the simple bass patterns. Finally, the symphony will round out the first half of the program with a performance of another masterpiece by Handel, his “Watermusic.” This collection of dance movements was composed in 1717, some decades earlier than the “Royal Fireworks Music.” It was first performed “by royal command” for a boat party that the new King of England, King George I, held on the River Thames.

Two Southeast students, Gates and Day, will be featured soloists with the symphony on the second half of the concert. Gates will perform a movement of the “Trombone Concerto” by English composer, Derek Bourgeois. Born in 1941, Bourgeois has held many important posts, including director of the National Youth Orchestra in England and has written 68 symphonies and 14 concertos. His “Trombone Concerto,” which will be heard on this concert, is a beautiful, expressive composition for the trombone and orchestra. The concert will conclude with the last two movements of the “Scaramouche Suite” for saxophone and orchestra by the prominent French composer, Darius Milhaud. A very influential and prolific composer, Milhaud’s work was influenced by jazz and popular music, as well as Brazilian rhythms, all of which can be heard in this lovely, light-hearted work. For this performance, Day will be the featured saxophone soloist with the orchestra.

Jeffrey Noonan, faculty member in the Southeast Department of Music, will present a short pre-concert talk at 6:45 pm on Tuesday, March 6, in the Glenn Convocation Center, just adjacent to the Bedell Performance Hall. This talk is free to all ticket holders for this evening’s concert.

This concert will present a wide range of styles and time periods, from the brilliant, festive music of the Baroque to the lively rhythms of Brazil, and from the well-known and beloved Pachelbel’s “Canon” of the 18th century to the equally mesmerizing, but less well known “Trombone Concerto” from the late 20th century.

Tickets are on Sale Now. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.