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MUSINGS FROM THE MAESTRO

2023-09-30 Fanfare.jpg

The Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and I invite you to explore “TRUTH & TRANSCENDENCE” with us on February 10th & 11th! It is a very special concert as we celebrate— through music— the power of nature to transcend and the irrepressible abilities of the human spirit to find transcendence and truth.  It’s part of our season-long celebration of “Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness.”


The Loudoun Symphony’s TRUTH & TRANSCENDENCE concerts will begin with Lyric for Strings by George Walker— the first African-American to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Originally entitled “Lament” this deeply moving piece was begun in the pre-Civil Rights era. Walker has such a remarkable ability to express, through strings, the inexpressible.  It sets the tone for the entire concert and conveys the power and resilience of the human spirit to find truth and transcendence— even during the darkest of times.


LSO is also honored to welcome the Melichenko family on February 10th & 11th—  an amazing family of musicians from Ukraine. Their beautiful and transcendent spirit is infectious, as they continually astonish audiences with their ability to find irrepressible joy in music— and in the world— in spite of what’s happening in their lives and in their country. Together with the LSO Father Sergiy, daughter Anastasia and son Vlad begin their performance with Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk’s devastatingly beautiful “Melody”.  This piece has come to symbolise the resilience and transcendent spirit of the Ukrainian people. The Melichenkos and LSO will also perform fun and uplifting arrangements of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy.  The family will end their set, as they often do, with the classic It’s a Wonderful World — always such a poignant moment, as it leaves us all ponder how this extraordinary family from Ukraine can continue to find beauty in a world that, for them has been obliterated.


LSO’s TRUTH & TRANSCENDENCE concert continues with three pieces that explore the theme of nature as the repository of truth and transcendence. In Ralph Vaughan Williams’s ravishingly beautiful The Lark Ascending for solo violin and orchestra, LSO’s own concertmaster Jie Kim represents the luminous lark as a symbol of nature’s beauty and transcendence as the lark soars above the world— above the fray. In a related theme, Ottorino Resphigi’s Pines of Rome so magically conjures the pine trees as they share their stories and secrets from times past— they are the keepers of truth and transcend time and space.


A very similar theme is explored in LSO’s world premiere of Kim and Kathryn Kluge’s Traveler in the Mist, inspired by David Grann’s groundbreaking book Killers of the Flower Moon.  Here it is the resilient and seemingly indestructible blackjack trees that share their secrets with us as the silent witnesses to the atrocities suffered by Oklahoma’s Osage Indians in the early 20th century. In this piece, the Kluges have taken specific imagery from Grann’s amazingly revealing text to create music rooted in sounds of nature— emanating from the Osage experience and from the earth itself— while also unraveling the mystery and tragedy of their story with haunting melodies and orchestral color.


I’ll see you at the concerts!


Kim Allen Kluge

Musings on Truth & Transcendence from Maestro Kluge
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As the new Music Director of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, I am excited to open our 2023-2024 Season on September 30th and October 1st with a concert entitled FANFARE!


In selecting pieces for us to experience together, I have tried to choose music that will offer something special for everyone! I hope you will come away from each concert inspired and energized! With our season theme “Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness” I want to explore what this means in our world today, and how music can express different aspects of the theme… uniting us all in a joyful affirmation of these universal longings.


Our opening concert FANFARE will begin with Aaron Copland’s rousing Fanfare for the Common Man— of course, if he were alive today I’m sure he would have entitled it “Fanfare for the Common Person”! :) In composing his Fanfare, Copland was inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech— Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Copland’s stirring piece encapsulates the aspirations of the entire season as I feel it expresses the intrinsic dignity of every human being and the right for every person to pursue their dreams. Every time I perform this masterpiece I’m always struck by its soaring poetry and come away with a tremendous feeling of steely resolve and unswerving sense of common purpose.


Copland’s themes are echoed in the other pieces on the program including Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard’s “Now We are Free” from Gladiator and John William’s “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan. I think these are two of the most breathtaking pieces of film music ever written. “Now We Are Free” is a profoundly moving expression of spiritual exultation in finding true freedom which so many seek in our world— and in Gladiator, could only be found in the afterlife. The entire orchestra vibrates with fervent longing, otherworldly visions and glorious feelings of hope.


The Loudoun Chorale will be joining us in performing “Hymn to the Fallen.” They will be singing without words— John William’s beautiful way of expressing how we feel about the sacrifice others make for us and our freedom which words cannot express.


Continuing our program’s theme of freedom, I chose Beethoven’s joyfully victorious Seventh Symphony which he dedicated to soldiers wounded in their struggle against Napoleon’s authoritarian aspirations. At the premiere Beethoven stated, “We are moved by nothing but pure patriotism and the joyful sacrifice of our powers for those who have sacrificed so much for us.” Beethoven’s words ring urgent and true today— they find expression throughout our entire season, including our February TRUTH & TRANSCENDENCE concert which will feature the amazingly musical Melichenko family from Ukraine who are seeking asylum in the US… 


As a special centerpiece of our FANFARE program, I’m thrilled to present Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja”. “Umoja” is the Swahili word for “Unity”. Coleman wrote the following song upon which her orchestral poem is based:


Listen my people, Children of ALL

It’s time for Unity

Hear the Winds call.


Coleman writes, “Now more than ever, Umoja has to ring as a strong and beautiful anthem for the world we live in today.”


Umoja begins as a song that is transformed into a celebratory and highly irresistible dance— it will be hard to stay in your seats!! The orchestra and I have been enjoying rehearsing this piece so much— we can’t wait to share it with you!


These pieces on our FANFARE program are remarkably different, but share the ability to inspire all who experience their unique power. Individually they are all masterpieces— and combined, create an epic experience of universal struggle for freedom, unity, and the right to pursue our dreams….


We welcome ALL and hope to see you at FANFARE!


Stay tuned…


Very soon we will be announcing our mystery superstar guest soloist who will headline our season!


Also look for details about how you can participate in our community art/music season finale festival!


See you at the Concert!


Kim


P.S. We now offer family friendly Sunday matinees with a shorter format. And, as always, children ages 12 and under are admission-free at the LSO.


P.P.S. Order your tickets here.

Musings on Fanfare from Maestro Kluge
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