This preview has been provided by the Philharmonic Association.

Marta C. Findlay-Partridge
TYS Conductor

The Triangle Youth Symphony has embarked on some challenging musical excursions for its Spring Concert on Tuesday May 10, 8:00 pm, in Meymandi Concert Hall. We are delighted to open our concert with Festive Concert Overture, by Raleigh composer Tom Lohr. As part of the PA’s goal to provide our musicians with opportunities to perform and value contemporary music, Mr. Lohr came to rehearsals and gave the students key commentary on their preparation, enhancing their understanding of the music and the process of composition.

Chorale: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, was originally performed by TYP in 1996 for the NC Bach Festival. Arranged for full orchestra by PA Artistic Director Hugh Partridge, it is a modern reworking of a very old hymn tune by Martin Luther (1521) and later used by Johann Sebastian Bach in his cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80. Although the theme is majestic in nature, this ebullient version emphasizes the joyousness of life.

And God Created Great Whales, written in 1970 by Alan Hovhannes is scored for orchestra and the taped songs of whales, including humpback, bowhead, and killer whales. From light pentatonic melodies reminiscent of sea shanties to gigantic waves of random sounds, there is much to listen for in this fascinating piece of music. Among the musical sound effects are: sliding trombones imitating the whales, rolling timpani, random bells and harp glissandi, staccato winds (suggesting “tiny sea creatures”), and dissonant horns layered on top. In some places, the musicians are simply given directions to play a certain sequence of notes for a specific duration of time. This piece has definitely been an exhilarating step into the world of aleatory (chance) music.

For the final piece of our program, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, we are pleased to welcome Tonu Kalam, Conductor of the UNC-Chapel Hill Symphony Orchestra, as our guest conductor. Styled as an ‘Overture-Fantasy’, the work is based on three main elements of the Shakespeare story. The first strand features the foreboding of doom in the lower strings, the second component reflects the agitation of the warring Capulets and Montagues, and the third thread (the famous love theme) juxtaposes passion and yearning with an underlying current of anxiety. The demands of this complex score have once again presented the TYS musicians the opportunity to expand their musical horizons.