Two musical titans meet on Superbowl Sunday

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January 31st, 2013

On Superbowl Sunday the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra’s Youth Symphony will tackle some very serious music by a pair of Russian composers. The first is the symphonic suite “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Rimsky-Korsakov used exotic melodies and harmonies to transport his listeners to remote destinations. Igor Stravinsky, on the other hand, sought to evoke scenes of pagan ritual in his ballet, “The Rite of Spring.”

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Music Director Aviva Segall points out that both works were revolutionary in their use of harmony, color, and especially instruments. For example, both make an unusual use of the bassoon.

“There’s that beautiful bassoon solo, and it’s a bit high in the range, it’s not an instrument you would expect to have a solo. So really Rimsky-Korsakov has done something pretty revolutionary with the bassoon.

“Then, you take the ‘Rite of Spring,’ the opening, and it’s high, high, high in terms of the range and it’s a completely different sound from the bassoon.

Speaking of difficult music, Segall says that while this arrangement is made specifically for youth orchestra, it’s neither watered down nor heavily abridged.

“It’s actually an amazing arrangement, it was written for a youth orchestra in Las Vegas. Everything that’s in it is exactly as it is in the “Rite of Spring” – there are a few things that are rebarred to make it easier to read, a few instruments that no one has that are taken out – but otherwise it’s the real deal.”

In addition to great Russian masterworks, this concert will also feature a preview of Opera Omaha’s upcoming production of an opera by Mozart.

“We’re also doing a collaboration with Opera Omaha. Two of the singers who are singing in “The Magic Flute” will be singing two arias and a duet from “The Magic Flute.”

The Omaha Area Youth Orchestra’s Youth Symphony performs “Scheherazade” and “The Rite of Spring” Sunday, February 3 at 4 pm at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center – and yes, the concert will be done in time for the audience to get home to watch the Superbowl. If you happen to miss this concert, the Youth Symphony will revisit most of the music on Thursday, February 28 as a part of “The Rite Returns” Festival presented by Omaha Performing Arts.

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