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Gershwin!

GershwinSeptember 21, 2019

Brayden Drevlow, piano
Piano virtuoso Brayden Drevlow will dazzle on the ivories with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and “I Got Rhythm” Variations. The BMSO also performs exciting, modern symphonic sounds with Michael Torke’s Javelin.

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Program

Symphony No. 2, Op. 30 "Romantic".......................Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
 
  1. Adagio — Allegro moderato 
  2. Andante con tenerezza
  3. Allegro con brio — Molto meno mosso — Piu mosso — Animato — Largamente
       
INTERMISSION
 
"I Got Rhythm" Variations for Piano and Orchestra..................George Gershwin (1898-1937)
                                    Brayden Drevlow, piano
 
Javelin................................................Michael Torké (b. 1961)
 
Rhapsody in Blue................................Gershwin
                                    Brayden Drevlow, piano 
 

Program Notes

Howard Hanson:  "My aim in this symphony has been to create a work young in spirit, romantic in temperament and simple and direct in expression."  Hanson composed the symphony for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which gave the premiere under the direction of Serge Koussevitsky on November 28, 1930.  It is his most popular and most often played piece, even being featured in the motion picture, Aliens.  The warmth, beauty and accessibility of the work is a reflection of Hanson's desire to touch the hearts of listeners. 
 
Michael Torke:  "I had three goals for this Atlanta Symphony's anniversary piece: I wanted to use the orchestra as a virtuosic instrument, I wanted to use triads (three-note tonal chords), and I wanted the music to be thematic. What came out (somewhat unexpectedly) was a sense of valor among short flashes and sweeps that reminded me of something in flight: a light spear thrown, perhaps, but not in the sense of a weapon, more in the spirit of a competition. "
 
George Gershwin:  "I got Rhythm," composed by George Gershwin for the 1930s musical "Girl Crazy," is one of the most iconic of Gershwin's melodies; second only maybe to the familiar tunes of Rhapsody in Blue!  In 1934, Gershwin set some of his own informal improvisations on the tune for a concert tour.  It was the last concert work he composed.  Rhapsody in Blue, originally arranged by Ferde Grofé for jazz band and orchestra and premiered by the Walt Whiteman orchestra in 1924, was then revised by Grofé in 1926 for piano and orchestra.  It was brother Ira who invented the now-famous title, inspired by paintings of James Abbot McNeil Whistler.  George Gershwin said of the work, "It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattlety-bang that is so often stimulating to a composer...and then I suddenly heard - and even saw on paper - the complete construction of the rhapsody from beginning to end."