Carolina Philharmonic Presents Two Holiday Events
BY FRANK GIORDANO
Special to The Pilot
Maestro David Michael Wolff and the Carolina Philharmonic will present its annual Holiday Pops Extravaganza in the Grand Ballroom of the Carolina Hotel Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m., and their first selection, Johann Strauss II's "Blue Danube" waltz, is sure to keep your bodies swaying and your spirits aloft.
The "Blue Danube" waltz has a long history in the traditional celebrations of Viennese holidays, particularly New Year's Eve. Composed in 1866 and reflecting specifically Austrian themes and feelings, the waltz has nevertheless enthralled audiences all over the world and has become one of the most popular, universally admired works in the classical repertoire.
Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" is the shortened orchestral version of the "Nutcracker" ballet. The Russian composer selected eight of the more popular numbers from the ballet and ordered the instrumental pieces for performance in a concert setting. The Carolina Philharmonic will perform some selections from the suite, but there will be no dancing on the stage. Audience members must rely on their memories and imagination to recapture the dazzling movements and costumes and emotions of the ballet.
Another suite by another Russian composer, "Scheherazade," by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, represents Imperial Russia's fascination with the East through its thrilling orchestration and Oriental rhythmic vitality. Rimsky-Korsakov's most popular work, the suite's four movements are based on "The Arabian Nights," a collection of stories Scheherazade told, over 1,001 nights, to keep a broken-hearted king from carrying out his revenge against his faithless wife by killing all the young women in his kingdoms.
The Philharmonic will perform the first and most popular tableau from Scheherazade, "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship." These orchestral pieces will be complimented by the narration of Pinehurst Mayor Nancy R. Fiorillo.
The "pops" segments of the evening's program include a pair of medleys. Bob Krogstad's distinctive style of arranging is evident in "The Bells of Christmas," a delightful and heartwarming showcase for orchestra. Weaving several classic carols and holiday songs, the medley rings and tinkles with such festive holiday tunes as "Ding Dong! Merrily on High," "The Bell Carol," "Silver Bells," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" and "Jingle Bells."
Leroy Anderson's arrangement of "A Christmas Festival," with several selections of the most enduringly popular religious music of the season, concludes the evening's program.
On the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m., Wolff once again presents the Joshua Wolff Trio in the Carolina Hotel. >Considered "one of the most invigorating and introspective young pianists to come out of the Seattle jazz scene," Joshua Wolff relocated in New York City, where he performs as a sideman at many of the top jazz clubs in Manhattan.
For this holiday season, Joshua's trio will be joined by the vocalist, Hilary Gardner, another "New Yorker at heart," whose debut album, "The Great City," >celebrates New York City's vitality, electricity and sense of possibility.
Their performance of a "Christmas in New York," in the hotel's historic Cardinal Ballroom, is a soothing, sophisticated mix of standards and holiday classics.
According to Twyla Tharp, who directed Gardner in the Broadway production of "Come Fly Away," in which she sang duets with Frank Sinatra and garnered high critical praise, "Hilary Gardner, like the great 'girl singers' of decades past, brings elegance and wit to every song she sings. She lends a touch of vintage cool to new material and makes the old songs sound fresh again."
After the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and the frenzied madness of Black Friday, some soothing and sophisticated, elegant and witty jazz riffs and songs are precisely the tonic for recovering the spirit of the season and getting those weary toes tapping again.
Tickets are available at www.shop.carolinaphil.org or by calling the box office at (910) 687-0287.
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