Showcase Sommerfest 2014 - page 19

George Gershwin
September 26, 1898, Brooklyn
July 11, 1937, Hollywood
An American in Paris
july 5
Salute to America
he led the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993. His four-
Air and Simple Gifts
was written for and played
at the inaugural ceremony in Washington, D.C., just
moments before Barack Obama took the oath of office
in 2009.
Summon the Heroes
was written for the 1996
Olympic Games in Atlanta. The seven-minute work
fairly bristles with brilliant brass writing and exudes all
the flair, energy and can-do spirit one associates with
high-powered athletic events.
ew Jersey native Robert (Bob) Lowden (1920-
1998) studied music education at Temple
University in Philadelphia and served in a U.S.
Army band during World War II. He made
his mark in the music world mostly as an arranger,
contributing especially to the repertory for the “easy-
listening” ensemble 101 Strings and for Claude
Thornhill’s big band.
The Armed Forces Salute
—one of his many contributions
to patriotism—includes music associated with each of
America’s military services:
The Caisson Song
for the Army,
Semper Paratus
for the Coast Guard,
Anchors Aweigh
for the Navy, also
The Marine’s Hymn
The U.S.
Air Force
—and Lowden’s arrangement weaves patriotic
phrases into transitions between the major melodies.
lthough Aaron Copland wrote music in many
styles and in virtually all genres, his orchestral
frescos of rural America continue to be the
scores most people associate with this composer,
among them
. This was commissioned by the
Ballets russes de Monte Carlo and choreographed by
Agnes de Mille. The first performance took place at the
n 1928, Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New
York Symphony Society, commissioned George
Gershwin to write a follow-up work to his Piano
Concerto, commissioned three years earlier.
Gershwin agreed and made some preliminary sketches,
which he then took with him to Europe. Upon settling
into Paris, he decided to call the work
An American
in Paris
, in which his purpose was “to portray the
impressions of an American visitor in Paris, as he
strolls about the city and listens to various street noises
and absorbs the French atmosphere.”
The dichotomy between the local music the visitor
encounters and music back home on the other side of
the Atlantic is cannily represented by several jaunty
“walking” themes full of Gallic charm on the one hand,
and “blues” music to comfort our homesick traveler on
the other. An authentic local Parisian touch is found in
the use of four taxi horns to represent the noisy, chaotic
bustle of the Parisian boulevards.
The world premiere took place on December 13, 1928,
with Damrosch conducting the New York Philharmonic
Symphony Society, which had merged with the New
York Symphony Society.
t’s probably safe to say that more people have
heard the music of John Williams than that of any
other composer in history. Through his 100-plus
film scores, many of which are blockbusters like
Star Wars
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Poseiden Adventure
Jaws, Jurassic Park
Indiana Jones
films and
—the very
of a Williams score is familiar to millions. Williams
is also well known as a conductor, in which capacity
Armed Forces Suite
arr. Robert Lowdon
Aaron Copland
November 14, 1900, Brooklyn
December 2, 1990, North Tarrytown,
New York
Saturday Night
Waltz, from
John Williams
February 8, 1932, Floral Park, Long Island;
now living in Los Angeles
Summon the Heroes
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