Don’t worry, folks. While it’s true that the UCSB Symphony Orchestra and the UCSB Jazz Ensemble are teaming up with Obie-winning actor Tony Miratti (as “Master of Mayhem”) to present the first-ever “Halloween Spooktacular!” — at 9 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall — and that they have programmed a bunch of “scary” tunes to put you in the mood, the musical scaring will be of a purely ritual nature. The point is to increase your comfort, not shatter it.
Fear not that you will be confronted with Schöenberg’s Erwartung or Hindemith’s Concerto for Organ and Chamber Orchestra — to name a couple of masterpieces many people would find menacing — because that would go against the whole grain of the evening.
Fun and make-believe are the watchwords of the evening’s program. We’ll hear instead the “Witch’s Ride” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s Wagnerian music drama for kids — admittedly, a scary concept in itself — Hansel and Gretel; selections from Edvard Grieg’s famous incidental music for Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt — (come to think of it, the Bøyg is pretty darn scary: “What are you?” Peer asks of the Bøyg, a giant troll usually characterized as an enormous, slimy snake. The Bøyg replies, “What I am.”) — and selections from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.
No doubt Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain — so awesomely visualized in Disney’s Fantasia — was omitted in the name of avoiding cliches; ditto the omission of the “Witch’s Sabbath” in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.
All of the above, in any case, will be performed by the University Symphony and conducted by Richard Rintoul, with assistance from Anthony Kim, a graduate student.
We will also hear from the UCSB Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jon Nathan, who will perform Gordon Goodwin’s Mueva los huesos (Shake those Bones) and other voodoo favorites. Then there will be some scary Bach on the organ, played by the ever-surprising Jeremy Haladyna: Toccata in D Minor, BWV 565 and Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 549. The scheduled entertainment concludes with “At World’s End” from Pirates of the Caribbean by Hans Zimmer.
The audience is encouraged to wear costumes for the occasion.
Tickets to the Spooktacular are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. For more information, click here or call the UCSB Music Concert line at 805.893.7001.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.