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Western Colorado Chorale and Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra join together for a weekend of “inspired” music.

February 16, 2018

On Saturday & Sunday, March 3rd and 4th, the Grand Junction Symphony’s concert season continues with Serenade To Music. The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s (GJSO) annual concert with the Western Colorado Chorale features works in tribute to other composers, conductors, writers, and even friends of composers. Both performances will be held at the Avalon Theatre. Saturday’s concert begins at 7:30pm and Sunday’s concert begins at 3:00pm. Doors open one hour prior to each concert.

The Western Colorado Chorale (WCC), under the direction of Dr. Monte Atkinson, was formed in 1984. The WCC is a group of approximately 40 auditioned singers whose mission, then and now, is to perform beautiful, high quality choral repertoire in the Grand Valley. In addition, the WCC offers its singers an opportunity to perform major works and sing with other highly skilled vocal artists. The WCC performs major choral works with the GJSO annually and is a complementary organization of the GJSO and is co-sponsored by Colorado Mesa University.

French composer Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin was written between 1914 and 1917. Each movement is dedicated to the memory of a friend of the composer who had died fighting in World War I. Written after the death of Ravel’s mother in 1917, Le Tombeau de Couperin is a light-hearted, and sometimes reflective work rather than a sombre one which Ravel explained in response to criticism saying: “The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.”

Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 4, more commonly known as Mozartiana, is an orchestral suite written in 1887 as a tribute to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the 100th anniversary of his opera Don Giovanni. Tchaikovsky’s treatment of Mozart’s work is both faithful and, “affectionate.” He took the music as it stood and endeavoured to present it in the best possible light. His intent was to win greater appreciation among his contemporaries for Mozart’s lesser known works.

Russian composer Anton Arensky’s Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, a piece for string orchestra, started out as the slow movement of his String Quartet No. 2, for the unusual scoring of violin, viola, and 2 cellos. It was written in 1894, the year after the death of Tchaikovsky, in a tribute to that composer. At the first performance of the quartet, the slow movement was so well received that Arensky soon arranged it as a separate piece for string orchestra, in which form it has remained among the most popular of all Arensky’s works.

Serenade to Music is a work by Ralph Vaughan Williams composed in 1938. The text is an adaptation of the discussion about music and the music of the spheres in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Originally composed for 16 vocal soloists and orchestra, Vaughan Williams later arranged the piece into a version for chorus and orchestra. Vaughan Williams wrote the piece as a tribute to the conductor Sir Henry Wood to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Wood’s first concert. Wood conducted the first performance at his jubilee concert at the Royal Albert Hall on October 5, 1938. The orchestra comprised players from three London orchestras – the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Saul
 is a dramatic oratorio in three acts written by George Frideric Handel. Taken from the First Book of Samuel, the story of Saul focuses on the first king of Israel’s relationship with his eventual successor, David; one which turns from admiration to envy and hatred, ultimately leading to the downfall of the eponymous monarch. The WCC and GJSO will be performing the Hallelujah chorus from Act 1 of Saul as an encore tribute to Dr. Monte Atkinson, who after 33 years at Colorado Mesa University will be retiring this May.

Serenade To Music is sponsored by Chuck & Robbie Breaux. The Breaux’s are long-time supporters of the GJSO and arts in the Grand Valley.

Tickets are still available for both perfomances. All seating is reserved and adult prices are $20 – $40 and students are only $5. Tickets can be can be purchased online at GJSO.org, by phone at 970-243-6787, or by visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street. Tickets are also available from the Monumental Events Box Office at the Avalon Theatre (645 Main Street), Monday-Saturday, Noon-8pm or by phone at 800-626-TIXS (8497).

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