Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony, University of Maryland Wind Orchestra and Members from U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” in John Corigliano’s “Circus Maximus,” March 18-21
BSO Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, members from The U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” and the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra in John Corigliano’s monumental Symphony No. 3, “Circus Maximus” on Thursday, March 18 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 21 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program also includes David T. Little’s Screamer and Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. These concerts are part of the centerpiece of the Orchestra’s 2009-2010 season, the BSO Under the Big Top Festival.
John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 3, “Circus Maximus” explores the aural extremes, swinging “…dramatically from apocalyptic chaos to pastoral serenity to urban turmoil to farce, each mood pushing or pulling against the next.” (The Austin Chronicle). Scored for a gigantic wind ensemble, woodwinds, eight percussionists, but no string section, this massive orchestra is divided into a stage band and a surround-sound band stationed throughout the hall. The composer describes his inspiration for this dramatic piece: “The parallels between the high decadence of Rome and our present time are obvious. Entertainment dominates our reality, and every-more-extreme ‘reality’ shows dominate our entertainment. Many of us have become as bemused by the violence and humiliation that flood the 500-plus channels of our television screens as the mobs of imperial Rome, who considered the devouring of human beings by starving lions just another Sunday show. The shape of my ‘Circus Maximus’ was built both to embody and to comment on this massive and glamorous barbarity.”
New Jersey-based composer and percussionist David T. Little takes a farcical look at a circus that spins out of control in Screamer. In this work, Little says he endeavors to, “…[do] my best to combine the best of the light and dark elements that the circus has to offer. Included are: ‘Screaming,’ ‘Ponies,’ ‘Clown Car Mayhem,’ ‘The Coulrophobic [Fear of Clowns] Tightrope,’ ‘Big Top Falling,’ and ‘Again, Screaming.’ ”
Finally, Marin Alsop takes a work most often heard in programming for children, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and treats adults to Prokofiev’s most famous work. Different instruments represent Peter and his troupe of animal friends in this programmatic masterpiece.