Summer 2014 – West London Story

409a1-kma2bjuly142beadWelcome back for a week of ensemble music with our “Romeo and Juliet” special, featuring the works of Prokofiev, Bernstein and Ravel.

“Dance of the knights”

We’ll kick off with the main theme from Serguei Prokofiev’s 1938 ballet music based on Shakespeare’s play.
The piece, officially called “Montagues and Capulets”, named after the two rivals families of Verona has been brought to a larger audience in recent years as the theme tune for the TV show “The Apprentice”. Here’s how the LSO does it:

 

“Pavane pour une infante défunte”

As with many pieces by French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), this nostalgic and lyrical offering exists in two versions – the original was written for piano solo in 1899 when Ravel was still a student and then was adapted for the orchestra 11 years later.
Although the title translates in “pavane for a dead princess”, it is often argued that the words “infante” and “defunte” were chosen because of how close they sound in French rather that having anything to do with the passing of a young girl.
Try to spot how many times the opening line comes back throughout the piece:

 

“Maria”, “America”, “I feel pretty”

Since its premiere on Broadway in 1957, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story as become a blockbuster of the orchestral repertoire and was a natural choice for our summer theme.
The band will play an arrangement of “Maria” and the choir will sing the other 2 songs.

 

“Bernie’s Tune”

Often the stalwart piece of Baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan, this version by Sonny Stitt is the perfect illustration of the cool, mellow and warm sound of the West cost bands of the 1960’s. The tune is based on 2 scales and provides an ideal platform for young improvisers!

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