My friend Mark and I went to the Strathmore Music Center on Saturday to hear Sheherazade, Bolero and Gloria for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra.
From their web site:
Located one-half mile outside the Capital Beltway in North Bethesda, Maryland, Strathmore provides affordable, accessible, multi-disciplinary arts programming in the Mansion at Strathmore, the Music Center at Strathmore, and on its scenic 11-acre site.
Founded and operated since 1981 by the Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., an independent, 501(c)(3) organization, the arts center presents a lively and diverse program of art exhibitions, concerts and performing arts programs, and literary lectures and events.
High quality arts programming, designed for audiences of many tastes, served with the hospitality and warmth of a family enterprise, are the hallmarks of Strathmore. Seasonal outdoor events seek to be inclusive in their programming appeal, reaching out to people of all ages, interests and cultural heritage.
I’ve never heard either piece performed live and it was a treat. Especially since Sheherazade is one of my favorite classical pieces and has a story as to why it is. More on that a little later.
Bolero starts out with only a few pieces of the orchestra playing. It was interesting to not only hear but see as additional instruments joined in. Violins are plucked in the opening part but not all the violins. Slowly but surely more and more of them join in. Then the viola. Then the cello. Then the bass cello. Just fantastic to watch.
Then there was. I enjoyed part of it especially the last part of the work.
After the intermission came Sheherazade. Here’s my story about it.
In fourth grade music class, as least I think that’s what it was, the class listened to Sheherazade. The class was then supposed to draw a picture about the story. Now it could have been an art class but I don’t think so because I distinctly remember listening to the music. I also know the story was read to us. Of course back then the music teacher would bring in the record player on one of those audio visual carts. The record player would have been one of those square box players with a lid with a latch on it. It would play 78, 45 and 33 records. I don’t remember ever hearing a 78 on it but I do remember hearing 33s and 45s. My “picture” and I use that in the loosest terms possible was of Sinbad’s ship. I think about the only thing I got right was the sail on the boat.
The music stayed with me. It is one of my favorite classical pieces. It was such a joy and wonder to get to hear the piece live. It was also great to see what instruments in the orchestra were used and where they came in in each part of the work.
A fantastic way to spend a Saturday night.
Here's a small part of Sheherazade.
More of the incredible Strathmore hall.