B y E m i l F r a n z i
THE CATALINA CHAMBER Orchestra will begin its season with three performances next month presenting a program of diverse and difficult works. They'll be joined by the Tucson Boy's Chorus and the Sons of Orpheus Male Choir and KGUN-TV, Channel 9, news reporter Sal Quijada. He'll narrate the Arizona premiere of Anthem by James DeMars, written in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
The program will also feature two works by French composer Gabriel Faure commemorating the 150th anniversary of his birth--his well-know Requiem and lesser-known Messe basse--both with the Tucson Boy's Chorus. And the orchestra alone will show us just exactly how good they really are in a performance of Ravel's technically brilliant Le Tombeau de Couperin.
This concert has a number of unifying factors. It's a multiple commemorative for both Faure and the United Nations. It displays three French works, with a fourth--the DeMars--by a composer of French origin. And it could also be called a concert of 20th-century music for people who don't like 20th-century music--if you fudge on the final version dates of the two Faure works.
The DeMars is an audience-friendly tonal piece, exactly what one would expect from a composer who studied with Dominick Argento. The Ravel has been a standard repertory piece for at least 50 years. Faure's Requiem contrasts the Verdi Requiem, magnificently performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra a couple of seasons back, and was actually written as a reaction by Faure to the Berlioz Requiem, a work even more bombastic than Verdi's. While the Ravel piece is technically difficult, the Faure is equally tough musically. It's delicate and actually joyous. The entire program will give conductor Enrique Lasansky and the several organizations participating a lot to do.
Collaboration among arts groups is something almost everyone finds desirable, but often difficult to pull off for a variety of reasons, none the least of which is ego and turf protection. That these three fine local groups have chosen to work together is commendable and deserving of the support of all who claim to be lovers of music who live in this valley. Past performances by these groups have left audiences more than satisfied.
All you folks who've been whining about lack of support for arts groups can do something about it by supporting three of them on the same program.
The Catalina Chamber Orchestra season opener will be presented at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 4, at the Berger Performing Arts Center; and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 5, at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, 1800 S. Kolb Road. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for those under 12, and are available at Jeff's Classical Records, Hear's Music, the Tucson Boy's Chorus, Mother of Sorrows Church, or by calling the Catalina Chamber Orchestra at 327-4721.
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