Meet Mozetich



Marjan Mozetich

Marjan Mozetich – from mozetich.com

Like many modern composers, Marjan Mozetich isn’t exactly a household name, particularly in the US. However, he is certainly a composer of the 20th and 21st century who has been making a name for himself with his symphonic works, chamber music, and solo pieces. He has been called “one of the most important composers of our time” (Kingston Whig-Standard) and his music has been described as “compellingly beautiful”.

Mozetich was born in Italy in 1948 to Slovenian parents but moved to Ontario Canada in 1952. His early musical training included studying piano and he worked toward becoming a concert pianist. He gave up on that idea and entered college studying psychology. He shifted toward music again, however, and pursued studying composition at the University of Toronto. After that, he continued his musical studies in Rome, Siena, and London.

Mozetich’s early influences included romantic composers like Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff as well as what he describes as “super-modern pieces” he first heard on the radio. So it’s no surprise much of his music blends lyricism and romantic harmony with what are decidedly modern elements. Since the 1980s and well into the 1990s and beyond, he has developed a style of post-modern romantic music in which he strives to express beauty, sensuousness, and emotion – things that give him and his audiences pleasure. And on one occasion, he certainly achieved what he set out to do. When the CBC Radio broadcast a concert performance of his violin concerto Affairs of the Heart, the switchboards lit up from coast to coast. There were numerous reports that listeners were so captivated by the music that they remained in their cars, listening to the end even though they had arrived at their destination. The so-called “driveway experience”.

Another piece that captures his signature style, comprising beautiful, spiritual, introspective, and meditative qualities is his The Passion of Angels. Written in 1995 and premiered in 1996, The Passion of Angels is a lush work featuring two solo harps and orchestra. It explores three degrees of passion: longing, desire, and ecstasy. The opening horn solo with accompanying harps announces the essential thematic material and throughout the work, the harps keep the orchestra moving through an emotional voyage.

Mozetich continues to compose to this day and has received numerous awards and recognition including the 2010 Juno Award for Best Classical Composition of the Year and the SOCAN Matejcek Concert Music Prize awarded to the most performed and broadcast composer in Canada (2002 and 2006). Learn more about Marjan Mozetich.

Want to hear The Passion of Angels performed live? Join the Parker Symphony Orchestra for “Passion” on February 15 at 7:30 PM at the PACE Center.


Musician Spotlight: John Williams


John Williams - 2nd Violin Parker SymphonyOur next installment of Musician Spotlight focuses on one of our members who shares a name with a very famous composer – John Williams. John is a member of our second violin section, but there’s so much more to him than just a famous name! Like did you know he’s a flight instructor? And that he makes cheese? Get to know John better below.

 

How long have you played with the PSO?

I am in my 8th season. I began the first season that the orchestra moved to PACE.

 

What’s is your favorite piece you’ve played with the PSO?

There have been many memorable pieces. I would say probably Dvorak’s New World Symphony if I have to choose one.

 

How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

I started playing instruments as a child. I always liked the violin because of the range of music that one can play, e.g., classical, folk, country, etc.

 

Do you play other instruments?

I play the piano a bit. I used to play a couple of others, but it’s been so long that I would have to relearn them.

 

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

I think that learning some of the more difficult orchestral pieces is challenging for me.

 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

 

Who are your favorite composers?

I suppose that I’m pretty traditional in that regard. I love Mozart’s music as well as Dvorak.

 

Are you from Colorado originally?

I grew up in Houston, but I have lived in the Denver area for around 34 years now.

 

When you are not playing with the PSO, what are you doing?

I am an attorney, but I took inactive status several years ago, as I switched to an aviation career. I still work full time for a medical helicopter/medical transport company. I am also a part-time flight instructor.

 

Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

My wife and I live on a small farm in Elbert County. We have horses, chickens, goats, dogs, cats and honey bees. I raise dairy goats, and I enjoy making cheese and other products with their milk. All of these activities keep me very busy.

 

Do you get tired of the John Williams jokes?

Not really. I just wish that I had as much talent as my famous namesake.

 

What is your life motto?

I don’t really have a motto, but I always keep trying to learn new things. I think that it keeps life interesting.

 

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that I really enjoy playing with the orchestra, and I feel fortunate to have that opportunity.

John Williams On The Farm


Favorite Modern Classical Music



Modern ClassicalLike many people, I love listening to music. I enjoy music from many different genres – alternative, rock, jazz, pop, EDM, hip hop, new wave, instrumental…you name it. And certainly as a cellist and a member of an orchestra, I listen to quite a bit of orchestral music from symphonies to film scores. But it’s hard love ALL classical music because there are so many very different styles within the genre.

I’ve never been a big fan of Renaissance and early music and the same goes for the other side of the spectrum – modern classical. However, recently, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons when it comes to classical music written in the last 80 years and I have to say, I may be coming around. I’ve found many really interesting pieces that are part of the “modern classical” era that are definitely worth a listen. Even if you’re a die-hard fan of the Romantic or Baroque composers, here are some of my favorite modern pieces and composers that may turn you into a 20th and 21st century classical music fan.

Philip Glass

If there’s one name that stands out as the most well-known in the modern classical era it is Philip Glass. Even if you don’t recognize the name, if you’ve seen films like The Truman Show, The Hours, and Candyman, you’ve heard his music. Glass’ music is described as minimalist, characterized by repetitive structures and simplicity. He has written operas, symphonies, works for ensemble, and, as previously mentioned, film scores among other works. He received the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors on December 26.

Here are some of my favorite Philip Glass works:

John Adams

John Adams’ music draws upon pop, jazz, electronic music, and minimalism and is infused with expressive elements. He has written everything from chamber music and cantatas to large orchestral works and operas. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he wrote On The Transmigration of Souls for orchestra, chorus, and children’s choir. The text from this work was derived from fragments of notices posted at the WTC site by friends and relatives of the missing, interviews published in the New York Times, and randomly chosen names of victims. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for this composition.

Here are some other cool John Adams works:

Henry Cowell – Hymn and Fuguing Tune

Henry Cowell was born much earlier than the previous two composers, but he was considered an avant-garde composer. Often called an ultra-modernist, he infused his early music with what we now call “world music”. His upbringing on the West Coast exposed him to a great deal of Irish airs and dances and music from China, Japan, Tahiti, and India. He also worked with and encouraged composers like Carlos Chávez who incorporated themes from Mexico’s indigenous people.

Unfortunately, he was arrested and incarcerated on a “morals” charge and that affected his later works which were markedly more conservative. His Hymn and Fuguing Tunes are among these later less-radical works, but they do retain some of the progressive bent of his earlier years. In between the lively melody of his Hymn and Fuguing Tune #10, you’ll hear some interesting and atonal chords.

Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 10

His Sailor’s Hornpipe saxophone quartet is also worth a listen.

Marjan Mozetich – The Passion of Angels

Unlike the previous composers who are all American, Marjan Mozetich is a Canadian composer. He has written music for theater, film, and dance as well as symphonic works, chamber music, and solo pieces. His music has evolved over the years but typically blend the traditional, popular, and modern infusing lyricism and romantic harmonies to evoke spiritual and meditative feelings. This is particularly noticeable in his 1995 work The Passion of Angels written for two harps and orchestra.

Come hear soloists Janet Harriman and Don Hilsberg and the Parker Symphony Orchestra perform this work on February 15 at the PACE Center. Tickets on sale now.

The Passion of Angels

Jennifer Higdon – blue cathedral

The newest piece on this list, blue cathedral was commissioned by the Curtis Institute of Music for their 75th anniversary. It was composed by Jennifer Higdon, a modern American composer, whose music is considered neoromantic and is not intentionally written with a form in mind but is allowed to unfold naturally.

Like The Passion of Angels, blue cathedral has a spiritual feel. It was written in memory of Higdon’s younger brother, Andrew Blue Higdon, who died of skin cancer in 1998. The composer remarked that the process of composing this piece was “the most cathartic thing [she] could have done”.

blue cathedral

Henryk Górecki – Symphony No. 3 Mvt. 2

Górecki was a Polish composer who was largely unknown outside of Poland until the mid-to late 1980s. His Symphony No. 3, also known as the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, was recorded with soprano Dawn Upshaw and released to commemorate the memory of those lost during the Holocaust. It became a worldwide commercial success, selling more than a million copies.

Symphony No 3., Op. 36: II. Lento e Largo – Tranquillissimo

Du Mingxin – Festival Overture

Du Mingxin is a Chinese composer known for ballets, concertos, and a symphonic Beijing Opera. His Festival Overture is an exciting and interesting piece.

Festival Overture


Classical Sleigh Ride Alternatives To Leroy Anderson

Other Sleigh Rides
Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride is by far one of the most well-known and frequently played Christmas songs, having been named “most popular” by ASCAP in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. It’s been translated into numerous languages and is performed every December by orchestras across the country. But his is not the first orchestral sleigh ride piece nor is it the only classical sleigh ride music worth listening to. Here are 5 classical music “Sleigh Ride” alternatives that should be on your playlist.

Prokofiev – “Troika” from Lieutenant Kijé

A troika is a Russian sleigh drawn by a trio of horses. So it’s no wonder that this portion of the Lieutenant Kijé Suite features sleigh bells and rapid pizzicato in between a repeating quick-paced melody. The music was written as part of a film score for a 1934 film also titled “Lieutenant Kijé”. You may also recognize the melody from another Christmas song – Greg Lake borrowed the tune for his “I Believe in Father Christmas”.

Delius – Sleigh Ride

English composer Frederick Delius fondly recalled the summers he spent in Norway in the 1880s. In 1887, he spent Christmas Eve with fellow composer Grieg and first performed his Sleigh Ride on the piano. Grieg’s influence can clearly be heard in the piece which portrays a lively sleigh ride that eventually comes to rest in the stillness of a northern winter’s night. Delius later wrote the orchestral version which was originally titled “Winter Night”.

Mozart – “Schlittenfahrt” from Three German Dances

“Schlittenfahrt” means “sleigh ride” and is the third movement in this series of dances written by Mozart in 1791. Some scholars believe this dance was written independently of the others because of its very different style. Like other sleigh ride pieces, “Schlittenfahrt” features sleigh bells and a repeating phrase that is passed between instruments.

Ibert – “Sleigh Ride” from Petite Suite

Here’s a lesser-known classical sleigh ride, but one that’s still perfect for this list. Jacques Ibert had a knack for writing sprightly, witty works and “Sleigh Ride” is no exception.

Tchaikovsky – “November” from The Seasons

Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons is a set of 12 short pieces for solo piano. Each piece represents a different month of the year. “November”, also known as “Troika”, is considered the most challenging piece with its rapidly moving melodic flow and and “outbursts” to forte.

8 Cool Facts About Sleigh Ride

The Sleigh Race by Currier and Ives
Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride is a Christmas standard and one that is easily recognizable by its upbeat melody, sleigh bells, clip-clopping, whip sound, and horse whinny. It’s been a hit ever since it was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

But there’s more to this piece than meets the eye…or ears. Here are 8 cool facts that may make this one of your favorite holiday tunes (if it isn’t already).

The Original Had No Words

You’ve probably heard both the instrumental and sung versions of Sleigh Ride. The original is the orchestral version with no words and was composed in 1948. The lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950 and were first recorded by The Andrews Sisters that year.

It Was Written During A Heat Wave

In 1946, Leroy Anderson and his family were in Woodbury, Connecticut staying in a cottage on his wife’s families land. He had been released from active duty in the Army and housing was in short supply. While staying in the cottage, a July heat wave and drought hit. Anderson began composing several tunes including Sleigh Ride which he envisioned as a musical depiction of winter long ago. He finished the piece about 2 years after his family moved to New York City – in the winter.

It Never Mentions Christmas

As previously mentioned, the original version did not have words and since the title is simply Sleigh Ride, there is no reference to Christmas. Parish’s words also make no reference to the holiday. In fact, the only event mentioned in the words is a “birthday party” at the bridge. Some artists have changed the words there to “Christmas party”.

It Has Been Named Most Popular

ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, has named Sleigh Ride the most popular piece of Christmas music in the US for several years including 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. It beat out other songs like “The Christmas Song”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”.

It Has Been Translated Into Several Languages

With Anderson’s permission, Sleigh Ride has been translated into French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Dutch, and Italian. Interestingly, in Swedish, “Sleigh Ride” is written as one word. So when they translate the word into English in programs, they often write the title as “Sleighride”.

The Words Were Written By A Jewish Lyricist

Like many other Christmas songs including “White Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “Winter Wonderland”, the words to Sleigh Ride were written by a Jewish lyricist. Mitchell Parish was born to a Jewish family in Lithuania. His family emigrated to the US in 1901 when he was less than a year old and settled in Louisiana before moving to New York City.

The Image We Used For This Post Is By Currier and Ives

There is a line in the song that’s meaning may be obscure to most today. “Like a picture print by Currier and Ives” refers to a printmaking company that produced hand-colored lithographs of popular artwork of the 19th century. The image we used in this post is called “The Sleigh Race”. The company closed in 1907, 43 years before the song lyrics were written.

It Sometimes Ends With Carrots

Sleigh Ride includes a famous horse whinny five bars before the end. The whinny is produced by a trumpet. Since the effect is near the ending, a joke with a humorous effect is occasionally played on trumpet players and, sometimes, the percussionists. When they rise for the applause, they are often presented a bunch of carrots in lieu of roses.

Hear us perform Sleigh Ride on December 1 at 4:00 PM at the PACE Center.


Tafelmusik For Your Next Feast

Tafelmusik for Thanksgiving and Dinner PartiesClassical is a popular genre when it comes to dinner music, particularly Thanksgiving dinner, but not all pieces work well in this setting. Put on Verdi’s Requiem or Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and you may be serving a sense of foreboding with your sides. On the other hand, Brahms’ Lullaby, while famous and lovely, may only enhance the already soporific effect of a heavy meal. So what should you add to your dinner playlist? How about Tafelmusik.

What is Tafelmusik? In German, it literally means “table music” and it’s been around since the mid-16th century. It is music that was often played at feasts and banquets and can be instrumental, vocal, or both. Composers of Tafelmusik include Johann Schein and Michael Praetorius, but perhaps the most celebrated collection is that of Georg Philipp Telemann. Telemann’s version has been compared to Bach’s Brandenburg concertos in that it is a supreme example of the composer’s skill in writing for a variety of instruments.

Telemann’s Tafelmusik was originally named Musique de table and was immensely successful upon publication – with an unprecedented 206 advance purchases, 52 of which came from abroad. It came, however, toward the end of the musical form’s life in 1733 (Tafelmusik was most popular during the 1600’s). Still, it supports the same philosophy as earlier Baroque examples – that life’s delights (eating and artful music) should meet. And because of that, it is as perfectly at home at celebratory dinners today as it was in the past.

The collection consists of over four hours of instrumental ensemble music which is long enough to last through any dinner party, Thanksgiving, luncheon, or any other meal. It features a cornucopia of styles and instruments including bassoon, oboe, trumpet, harpsichord, and strings that all delight the senses with truly vivid music. It has been described as brilliant, dazzling, and infectious music.

Hear some samples below:

Musician Spotlight: Cindy Carrier


Cindy Carrier 2You may have noticed a new face in the first violin section. We have a new concertmaster, Cindy Carrier. If you read the announcement, you probably already know she is an established violinist and a music teacher, currently teaching elementary school music in Castle Rock. But there’s so much more to Cindy. Keep reading to learn more and be sure to come see her perform with the Parker Symphony at one of our upcoming concerts.

 

How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

Growing up we had music on almost all the time, and a wide variety of genres. I remember listening to the Amadeus soundtrack as a kid on holidays and pretending to conduct an orchestra while listening. I took piano lessons as a young kid, and it was fun, but the violin always looked like a fun instrument to play, so when I finally got to 5th grade when I could play an instrument in school, I already knew I wanted to play the violin. I have been playing ever since.

 

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

The occasional lack of respect for musicians, or the idea that some people have that music is all fun and just requires talent, and doesn’t require hard work. Whenever I run into people who have those ideas, I try to educate them on how hard musicians work, how rewarding it is, and it’s not just talent that makes someone a good musician.

 

Do you have a fond musical memory you can share?

I remember listening to Tchaikovsky pieces, including March Slave and The 1812 Overture, with my grandparents visiting. We would all pretend to conduct the orchestra, and I always thought that was so fun. Whenever I hear those pieces I think about my grandparents.

 

What is/are your favorite piece(s) to play (on any instrument)?

I love to play Czardas because it brings me back to my Slovak and Hungarian roots (my paternal grandparents), as well as The Lark Ascending because it is soaringly beautiful. Then I love to turn around and play some bluegrass fiddle or Irish jigs and reels. I was in a string band in Kansas City before moving here and played lots of fiddle music with them, including a lot of busking at the local farmer’s markets, which was a lot of fun.

 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

I would love to repeat playing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. I played it in college and would love to play it again.

 

Who is/are your favorite composers?

My favorites are the Russian Romantics, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. It doesn’t get better than wearing your emotions on your sleeve and expressing the highest of highs and lowest of lows like only the Russians can do.

 

What brought you to Colorado?

My husband brought me to Colorado. He was accepted into medical school here in Parker, and so we got married and moved out here together. This year + being out here with him has been the best part of my life so far!

 

What music genres do you typically listen to?

I listen to so many genres of music. I do love the newer alternative rock (don’t judge!). Bands are more creative and more musical now, and I really enjoy the strong beats and fun melodies that some of those songs bring, especially since I listen to most music like that when I’m out for a run. I also love classical music, of course, and really appreciate KVOD radio out here. I may have the occasional hip-hop, country, folk, or other random genre in the shuffle on my Spotify playlist too.

 

What is your proudest accomplishment or happiest moment in life?

My proudest accomplishments so far have been running long distances. I have run 10 marathons and one 50k race, plus several half marathons and other distances. I am especially proud of the 50k race because at one time I never thought I would be able to run that far (32 miles) in one go. As a kid I had the academic and music talent but no athletic talent at all. Going from that to completing long distance races is a huge accomplishment for me, because it’s all hard work and effort, and NO talent. 🙂 Long distance running also makes me really happy (the endorphins from the runner’s high are real!).

I will add that ONE of the happiest days in my life was our wedding. My husband is an amazing man, and every day my relationship with him brings me such joy. Plus, our wedding was amazing!

 

Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

Since moving to Colorado my husband has gotten me into mountain biking, and I must say that Colorado is an amazing place to learn how to mountain bike. I am not at all an aggressive rider, but have slowly gained more confidence. Don’t expect to see me taking any jumps, though!

Last summer I learned how to scuba dive, and my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Cozumel where we did several ocean and cenote (almost like cave) diving.

 

If you weren’t a musician and a teacher, what do you think you would do as a career?

Quite possibly a chef! I love to cook and could see myself cooking or baking as a career, since I already spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen.

 

What are some of the most important lessons you seek to pass on to your students?

I want them to feel comfortable taking risks and know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Growing up I wanted to do everything right the first time and didn’t want to take risks, but I have found that I learn best by diving into something and making mistakes. I also want them to enjoy music, no matter what level they choose to engage in it, whether they become professional musicians or simply appreciate music.

 

What is your favorite food?

I really enjoy dark chocolate!

 

What are your favorite phone apps (musical or otherwise)?

I really enjoy Spotify—making my own playlists of music, finding others, and having a chance to explore listening to music through this app. A close second is YouTube, because you can find almost anything there! I use YouTube quite a bit with my students to show them orchestras and other musical performances.

 

What are some important responsibilities of being a concertmaster of an orchestra?

I believe it is critical for the concertmaster to know her part and have the bowings worked out as soon as possible. Also, to be available to assist any members, not just the violins, in any helpful way.

 

What do you most look forward to as concertmaster for the PSO?

Having the opportunity be a musical leader and getting to know the members of the PSO.

Cindy Carrier Thumbnail


12 Favorite Halloween Classical Pieces

Halloween Image

Halloween is here! And if you’re looking for spooky, creepy, or monstrous music for your playlist, you’re in luck. Check out our 12 favorite Halloween classical music pieces below.

1. Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre

With a title that includes the word “macabre”, you can tell it’s a great piece for Halloween. This is by far the most famous work associated with the holiday, and with good reason. It is a tone poem inspired by a French legend that says “Death” appears at midnight on Halloween to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him. He plays the fiddle while skeletons dance until dawn.

2. Dvořák – The Water Goblin

The Water Goblin is a symphonic poem that tells a horrific story of a mischievous goblin who traps drowning souls in upturned teacups. It begins by depicting the water goblin sitting by a lake sewing a green coat and red boots for his wedding. Then a mother is telling her daughter a dream she had about her daughter in white robes swirling in foaming water. Fearing it was a foreshadow of danger, she warns her daughter not to go to the lake. Of course, the daughter is drawn to the lake despite the warnings. The bridge she sits on collapses and, as she falls into the water, the goblin abducts her. He takes her to his underwater castle and marries her. They have a child together and she begs the goblin to allow her to visit her mother. He agrees on 3 conditions: that she not embrace anyone, that she leaves the baby behind, and that she returns by the bells of the evening vespers. She visits her mother who forbids her to return when the bells ring. The water goblin becomes enraged and goes to the mother’s home and bangs on the door. When he is refused, he kills the child.

3. Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain

Another famous piece commonly associated with Halloween, Night on Bald Mountain paints a musical picture of a witch’s sabbath occurring on St. John’s Eve. Interestingly, the original piece composed by Mussorgsky is not the version you typically hear. That was only published in 1968 and is performed very rarely. The piece we have come to know (and hear in places like Walt Disney’s Fantasia is an arrangement by Rimsky-Korsakov.

4. Berlioz – “Dream of the Night of the Sabbath” from Symphonie Fantastique

Often referred to as the “Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath”, it is the 5th movement of Berlioz’s grand Symphonie Fantastique. Each movement of the symphony depicts an episode in the protagonist’s life (an artist who poisoned himself with opium out of unrequited love). The program notes in the original score for the 5th movement are as follows:

He sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the sabbath … Roar of delight at her arrival … She joins the diabolical orgy … The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.

5. Ryan Smith – The Night Creeps Slowly

Ryan Smith may not be a name you know, but he is composer from Parker, Colorado who wrote a very Halloween-appropriate piece that the Parker Symphony played for its world premiere. A Chaparral High School graduate in 2008, he has written, recorded, and produced under the name M.I.X.

6. Chopin – “Funeral March” from his Piano Sonata No. 2

What Halloween music list would be complete without the famous Funeral March from Chopin. Although many may not know it, it is actually the 3rd movement in his Piano Sonata No. 2 and quite lovely once you get past the main motif. It has been arranged for a variety of instruments and even full orchestra and has been played at numerous funerals including Chopin’s own burial in October 1849 at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

7. Liszt – Totentanz

“Totentanz” translates to “Dance of the Dead” in English. It joins several other works by Liszt in showing his fascination with death. In fact, it is said he frequented hospitals and asylums and even went down into prison dungeons to see those condemned to die.

8. Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Probably the most famous piece of organ music written, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was not intended to be creepy, but thanks to its use in numerous films, it has become a cliché to illustrate horror and villainy.

9. Rachmaninoff – Isle of the Dead

Another symphonic poem that depicts a story, this piece was inspired by a reproduction of a painting of the same name that Rachmaninoff saw in Paris. The opening of the piece is either suggestive of oars as they meet the waters on the way to the Isle of the Dead or the waves themselves.

10. Gounod – Funeral March of a Marionette

Ok. One listen to this piece and you’ll instantly recognize it as the theme for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, it has also a great piece for Halloween because of its subject matter (a funeral) and it’s oddly catchy and creepy melody. The storyline that the piece follows is that a marionette has died in a duel, the funeral procession commences, and then, during the central section, mourners take refreshments before returning to the march.

11. Penderecki – Intermezzo For 24 Strings

Not an overtly Halloween-themed piece, the chromatic layering of instruments has a creepy effect that makes this a great addition to any Halloween playlist. Penderecki is a Polish composer of the 20th and 21st century whose music has sometimes been adapted for films. His String Quartet and Kanon For Orchestra and Tape were featured in the 1973 movie The Exorcist

12. Grieg – “In The Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt

The translation of the title of this piece from Norwegian isn’t quite literally “mountain king”. The “king” in this instance is actually a troll that Peer Gynt invents in a fantasy. The introduction of this movement is, “There is a great crowd of troll courtiers, gnomes and goblins. Dovregubben sits on his throne, with crown and sceptre, surrounded by his children and relatives. Peer Gynt stands before him. There is a tremendous uproar in the hall.”

 

7 Facts About “Battle Hymn of the Republic”



Julia HoweThe “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (also known as “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”) was written in 1861 by Julia Ward Howe, wife of Samuel Howe – a scholar in education for the blind. Both Julia and Samuel were active leaders in anti-slavery politics and strong supporters of the Union, so it’s no surprise that the song is heavily associated with the Civil War. In the years since the war, however, it has become a staple in American patriotic music.

While you may find yourself singing it on the 4th of July, you probably don’t know all there is to this inspiring song. Check out these 7 facts about “Battle Hymn of the Republic” below.

It Was A Favorite of Walt Disney Among Others

“Battle Hymn…” was said to be a favorite of Walt Disney’s so much so that it was played at the end of his private funeral in 1966. It was also one of Winston Churchill’s favorite songs and was played at his state funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It has been performed at other memorial services, most notably the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral for those lost on 9/11, at the Requiem Mass for Bobby Kennedy, and at Senator John McCain’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.

It Is A Remake…Of A Remake

The story of the song’s creation begins with a visit to a Union army camp near Washington DC. Julia Howe heard a group at the camp begin to sing a popular war song titled “John Brown’s Body” (which was sung to a tune borrowed from the hymn “Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us”. One of the other visitors at the camp, Reverend James Freeman Clarke, suggested that Mrs. Howe pen new lyrics to the same tune. She awoke the following morning and in a flash of inspiration, wrote the lyrics for “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that we sing today.

Its Opening Lines Were The Last Words Spoken By Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in support of sanitation workers in Memphis. He announced, “I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” The next day he was assassinated on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel.

Howe Was Paid $5 For The Poem

The Atlantic Monthly published the poem in February 1862 and paid Julia Ward Howe $5 (note that some say it was actually $4). While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it is actually equivalent to $124.97 today. The publisher was also the one who gave the poem its title.

It Made The Hot 100 Charts

In 1960, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s recording rose to #13 on the Hot 100 and it even won them a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus.

It Inspired Numerous Other Works

When you read the lyrics, one of the most obvious inspirations that becomes apparent is the title of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath which came from the line “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” It also inspired the title of John Updike’s In The Beauty of the Lilies.

Numerous other songs have been set to the same tune. For example, the University of Georgia’s fight song “Glory Glory to Old Georgia”, the parody song “The Burning of the School”, and a version that Mark Twain wrote to comment on the Philippine-American War titled “The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated”.

Its Publication Was Probably Against Her Husband’s Wishes

Many historians agree that Julia Ward Howe’s writing had been a source of bitterness and strife in her marriage to Samuel Howe. He worked diligently to stop her intellectual aspirations and isolate her from literary outlets. Still, she defied his wishes where she could, even publishing an anonymous book of poems at one point. That enraged him and he began badgering her for divorce and separation – which she declined. In the end, she could not be silenced as “Battle Hymn” lives on as a lasting contribution.

The Parker Symphony and the Colorado Mormon Chorale will perform the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” among other patriotic pieces on October 26 at 7:30 PM at the PACE Center.


What Is Baba Yetu? Meaning, Lyrics, Awards…


Many of the pieces in our upcoming “Salute” concert are probably familiar – certainly “The Star Spangled Banner” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. But one that may be relatively unknown outside of video game circles is “Baba Yetu”. Once you hear it, though, we think you’ll agree that in addition to being inspirational, it’s also truly unforgettable.

Soweto Gospel Choir and Baba Yetu

Baba Yetu Meaning and Lyrics

“Baba Yetu” is essentially the Lord’s Prayer sung in Swahili. The title translated means “Our Father”.

The lyrics are as follows:

Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu amina!
Baba yetu yetu uliye
Jina lako e litukuzwe.

Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji, utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, muovu e milele!

Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni.
(Amina)

Our Father, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father,
Hallowed be thy name.

Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
our trespasses,
As we forgive others
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one forever.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
(Amen)

Video Game Origin

Unlike many orchestral and choral pieces that are either classical music or film scores, “Baba Yetu” has a unique story. Composer Christopher Tin was at his five-year Stanford University reunion where he reconnected with his former roommate Soren Johnson. Johnson told Tin that he had been working on the video game Civiliztion III at which time Tin relayed his love of the series.

A few months later, Johnson contacted Tin and told him that he was working on Civilization IV and needed music for the game’s introduction and menu area. Recalling his interest in the series, he asked if Tin wanted to help. Johnson had heard the Stanford Talisman, an a capella group at Stanford, sing traditional African music and wanted something similar. Tin composed “Baba Yetu” in 2005 and recorded it with Stanford Talisman for the game.

Tin re-recorded the piece for his first solo classical crossover album titled Calling All Dawns in 2009, recruiting the talent of the Soweto Gospel Choir for vocals.

Grammy Award Winning

“Baba Yetu” received a lot of critical praise, including from over 20 reviewers from major video game publications like IGN and GameSpy. It was also particularly memorable for fans of Civilization IV because of its combination of an inspirational and majestic theme with African percussion and rhythm.

In 2011, it won a Grammy Award which not only made it the first video game theme nominated, but also the first piece of music composed for a game to win. It also won at the Independent Music Awards and the 2006 Game Audio Network Guild Awards.

Performances Today

Today, the piece is frequently performed at Video Games Live concerts and has even made appearances at venues like Carnegie Hall, The Dubai Fountain, the Kennedy Center, The Hollywood Bowl, and America’s Got Talent.

Below are a couple of popular recordings from YouTube so you can hear this amazing piece yourself. To hear it live, be sure to join us on October 26 at 7:30 PM at the PACE Center for “Salute”.

Christopher Tin – Baba Yetu Official Music Video

Alex Boyé, BYU Men’s Choir – Baba Yetu

America’s Got Talent – Baba Yetu performed by the Angel City Chorale