Clear Lake Performing Arts' (CLPA) Fall Symphony Concert will take place at the Marge Alakszay Center at Clear Lake High School on Lange in Lakeport at 3 p.m.
These will include the “Academic Festival Overture” by Johannes Brahms who wrote it as a musical “thank you” to the University of Breslau which had awarded him an honorary degree the previous year.
Told that the university expected a tribute composition in return, Brahms – known for his curmudgeonly sense of humor – created a potpourri of student drinking songs intricately tied together in a carefully planned piece that calls for one of the largest musical ensembles of any of his compositions.
The joke, as it turned out, was on Brahms, when the overture became one of his best-known and most loved works.
Brahms' good friend Anton Dvorák composed another of Parkinson's choices for the Fall Symphony Concert. “The Slavonic Dance No. 8” is one of a series of pieces originally written for piano for four hands but later arranged for orchestra. The music reflects the rhythms and melodic shapes of the Czech folk music of Dvorák's native land, and became a hit shortly after they were performed.
Another contemporary of Brahms and Dvorák was French composer Camille Saint-Saens who turned to the bible as inspiration for one of his best-known works, the opera “Samson and Delilah.” Parkinson has selected the “Danse Bacchanale” from the third act as another piece from this period.
Saint Saens introduced portions of the opera to various audiences, but it was the eve of the Franco-Prussian war, and he could generate little interest. However, at the urging of Franz Liszt a German translation was introduced in the Wiemar republic to great acclaim and later in the U.S. and the rest of Europe to enthusiastic audiences. The opera, and the “Baachanale” in particular, remain standards in most opera companies.
For his fourth selection Parkinson rolls the calendar back to 1807, when Ludwig van Beethoven took the play written three years earlier by Heinrich Joseph von Collins and decided to set it to music. “The Coriolan” was a tragedy in the classic sense, with its main character a military man intent upon invading and destroying Rome with his army until, at the last minute, he finally heeds the pleadings of his mother and halts at the city's gate. Left with no way out he kills himself.
Beethoven set the theme to memorable music, specifically “The Coriolan Overture” with its structures and themes generally following the play closely.
The concert is presented by Clear Lake Performing Arts, the Lake County music support group that also funds the CLPA Youth Orchestra. These young musicians also take part in the program with a brief presentation under the direction of Wes Follett, that takes place just after the intermission.
The full orchestra then presents its rendition of of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, sometimes called the “Destiny” or “Fate” Symphony. When he wrote it in 1808 Beethoven said that the signature rhythm (three short punctuations followed by one long) represented “fate knocking at the door” and in World War II it became the United States' musical declaration of “V for Victory,” with the three dots and a dash being the letter “V” in Morse code. “The Fifth” is perhaps Beethoven's most recognizable and popular work.
Admission is $20 for the general public and $15 for CLPA members.
Memberships in the nonprofit organization will be available at the door. However, with admission available at that day's performance the membership may be purchased at the reduced rate. As always, young people under 18 are admitted free of charge.
For more information contact Connel Murray, 707-277-7076.