Tuesday evening, the Anchorage Youth Symphony will present their first concert of the 2008-2009 season. The season will conclude next summer, with a performance in the Sydney, Australia Opera House, one of the 20th century's most magnificent architectural masterpieces.
Tomorrow's concert will feature the Overture to Die Meistersinger, by Wagner, a suite from the opera Porgy and Bess, by Gershwin, and Lamentations and Gordon's Last Ride Rag, from my Sinfonietta.
The Sinfonietta, written last year as a memorial to Alaska conductor Gordon Wright, had its November 3, 2007 rendition by the Anchorage Civic Orchestra. That concert was the subject of the fifth post at the then-new blog, Progressive Alaska.
Since then, the Sinfonietta's last movement, Gordon's Last Ride Rag, has been played by four Alaska orchestras - The Anchorage Civic Orchestra, the Juneau Symphony, the Kenai Penninsula Symphony, and now, the Anchorage Youth Symphony. It may be a while before the Anchorage Symphony gets around to the rag, after the Exxon protests I thought of mounting at their February concert last winter.
Linn Weeda. the youth symphony's director, conducted the rag in two performances last summer - in Kenai and Homer. The care he took with the score then, and recently has been very heart-warming.
And the care Tai Wai Li took with the Sinfonietta last fall was also touching. Mike Dunham's characterization in an article yesterday of that November 2007 performance is a bit unfair.
Dunham wrote, "when the Anchorage Civic Orchestra gave the premiere of the piece last year, I felt the music was good, but the playing was pretty raw and rough."
I thought their performance to be raw, rough and totally inspired. Bob Amos, who recorded the performance thought it might be good enough to submit to National Public Radio's "Performance Today" program.
I am looking forward to seeing and hearing Maestro Weeda inspire these kids tomorrow!
Off to the dress rehearsal.
The concert is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, at the Discovery Theatre. Tickets at Centertixx, or at the door.
Linn Weeda's copy of Gordon's Last Ride Rag
Sydney Opera House