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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Orchestra Begins 2020 Season with Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky

By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | January 15, 2020


The Marine Chamber Orchestra returns to the concert stage at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19 for its first performance of the 2020 season, taking the audience on a musical trip through the natural world with the program titled “The Seasons,” featuring works by renowned composers Sergei Prokofiev, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and William Alwyn. Conducted by Assistant Director Capt. Bryan P. Sherlock, the concert will take place at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandra, Va. The performance is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The program will kick off in a playful mood with the orchestra performing Prokofiev’s A Summer Day, Opus 65a. The work is a musical representation of a child’s typical summer day beginning with the movement “Morning” and aptly ending with “The Moon Is Over the Meadows.” Inbetween are movements depicting activities throughout the day such as “Tip and Run,” representing a fun game of what Americans call “Tag”; “Repentance,” demonstrating perhaps a child’s remorse at doing something wrong; and “March,” where one can imagine several children playfully and imaginatively marching around in a field on a beautiful summer’s day.

Moving along in the seasons, the orchestra will perform Alwyn’s Autumn Legend, featuring English horn soloist Gunnery Sgt. Joseph DeLuccio. While not quite as well-known as his counterparts on the concert, Alwyn’s music has had a resurgence over the last three decades, highlighted in part with the use of his music by American figure skater Michelle Kwan during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Alwyn was also a man of many talents, including painting and poetry, and he was fascinated by the works of artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It was to Rossetti that Alwyn dedicated his work Autumn Legend and, according to the composer, the piece is an “unashamedly romantic” free improvisation on the words of a poem by Rossetti entitled “The Blessed Damozel.”

Although the orchestra will conclude with the “winter season,” it will not be in a cold or dreary fashion. In contrast, Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony, Winter Daydreams, will end the concert in grand fashion that will please the ears and warm the heart.

“This program really started with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, Winter Daydreams,” Sherlock said. “It’s a really charming work, and was always one of the composer’s favorites. I thought it would be ideal with the subtitle for a January concert.”

The composer’s First Symphony did not come about without difficulty. Tchaikovsky took a full two years to complete the work, and in the midst of it he suffered insomnia, hallucinations and a nervous breakdown. Despite this, Tchaikovsky wrote in a letter to his publisher in 1886, “I like this symphony very much and deeply regret that it’s had such an unhappy existence,” and to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, that “it is richer in content than many of my other, more mature works.”

Prior to the orchestra concert, a brass quintet will offer pre-concert music in the lobby beginning at 1:15 p.m. Doors to the hall will open at 1:30 p.m. Free parking is available in the adjacent garage.

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