Artistic Director & Conductor Jung-Ho Pak selected these Listening Links for our upcoming November 12 & 13 show Forever Young especially for you. Enjoy!
Do you remember what first led you to discover the magical power of music? The Cape Symphony presents a concert for all ages that embraces the innocence of youth and the essence of why we’ve been captivated by powerful music all our lives.
Among the many treasures from childhood we’ll perform is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by the French composer Paul Dukas, made famous by its use Walt Disney’s animated concert film Fantasia. In this video, the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Kurt Masur, performs the symphonic poem, written in 1897, at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Dukas named the piece The Sorcerer’s Apprentice after a poem written by the German author Johann Goethe, which gave him the inspiration. You can also enjoy this video from Disney featuring the sequence from Fantasia in which Mickey Mouse tries on the sorcerer’s hat, planning to use magic to do his chores. Sadly for Mickey, things get out of hand quickly! This was the most memorable segment of the 1940 movie and remains Dukas’s most successful work.
This 2021 performance of Camille Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals is by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Pianists Yuja Wang and David Fung feature on the piano. The musical suite has fourteen movements, many dedicated to a specific animal or type of animals, including a lion, hens and roosters, wild donkeys, an elephant, kangaroos, and more. He also included pianists as one of the animals! The Carnival was never performed in public during the composer’s lifetime, as he meant it as a fun amusement to be shared privately; it became his most popular work.
In 1945, English composer Benjamin Britten was commissioned to write The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra for an educational documentary called Instruments of the Orchestra. For the film, the piece was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Each section of the orchestra has an opportunity to shine, with the woodwinds, strings, brass, and percussion playing the theme and variations in turn. In this video, the Guide is performed by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Sergei Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf in 1936 to encourage children’s interest in music, and to introduce them to the instruments of the orchestra. In 1938, Prokofiev himself conducted the American premiere, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall. This video features the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Bramwell Tovey explaining at the beginning how each character in the story is represented by a particular instrument. Prokofiev’s detailed notes for performing Peter and the Wolf explain that “the children learn to distinguish the sounds of the instruments during the performance of this tale.”
The Cape Symphony's performance of these works will transport us all back to the first time we heard them; and you can bring your children or grandchildren to the performance, sharing their first-ever exposure to this wonderful music with them.