Said program will include the Overture to Richard Wagner's opera, Tannhauser (1845); Christopher Rouse's exciting concerted work, "Der Gerettete Alberich" Fantasy for Percussion and Orchestra (1997), and Gustav Holst's epic astrological fantasy, The Planets, Opus 32 (1914-1916).
Bob and Ray sometimes performed a sketch of an aggressive, impatient reporter interviewing a representative of the Slow-Talkers of America Association. As the interviewee made his leisurely, deliberate way through a sentence, with maddening pauses between words, the reporter would jump in and try to anticipate where the sentence would end up, clearly wanting to throttle the man.
When I listen to the opening of the Tannhauser Overture, I feel just like that reporter. "Come on!" I say to the composer, "Get on with it, will you?" But Wagner won't be hustled, and with good reason — the coming payoff is overwhelming, and it wouldn't work without the deliberate, gliding buildup.
According to Rouse's website, "Der Gerettete Alberich" was "composed for and dedicated to Evelyn Glennie by a commissioning consortium consisting of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra." Quite a pedigree.
As you might suppose from the involvement of Glennie, the work demands a soloist who is young, athletic and capable of being two or three places at the same time. There is always something to watch, and it is neither boring nor offensive — something of a home run, you will admit, for a contemporary work.
Holst was writing the threatening opening bars of "Mars" — the first part of The Planets — when he learned that World War I had begun. Like most artists, he was superstitious and the outbreak of war as he was composing music about the planet named after the god of war rather spooked him. He put the work away and didn't get back to it until 1916.
Tickets to the symphony concerts range from $35 to $100 and can be purchased from the Granada box office at 805.899.2222 or online by clicking here.