This Halloween we explored the evocative and diverse traditions associated with the season. From the enchanting melodies of Jerod Tate's "Coyote" to the haunting music of Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," and the lively dance of Moncayo's "Huapango," this concert was a captivating experience that captured the essence of these distinct traditions. The evening also included Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and featured divas Jenna Rae and Elizabeth Wohl in Saint-Saens' "Dance Macabre" and Rossini's "Duetto buffo di due gatti".
"Coyote" from Jerod Tate's "Spirit Chief Names the Animal People"
Our concert begins with "Coyote," a selection from Jerod Tate's larger composition, "Spirit Chief Names the Animal People." This piece is a window into the rich Native American traditions of storytelling and mythology. "Coyote" embodies the spirit of Halloween by delving into Native American folklore, where the mischievous and enigmatic Coyote characterizes the unpredictable aspects of life.
As you listen, allow yourself to be transported to a world where nature and humanity intersect, and where tales of animal spirits come to life through the orchestra's mesmerizing melodies. Tate's work serves as a fitting overture to our exploration of seasonal traditions, invoking the mysticism and wonder associated with Halloween.
"Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky
As night descends, we enter the eerie realm of "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky. This iconic composition, famously featured in Disney's "Fantasia," conjures the haunting atmosphere of Halloween night. Mussorgsky's vivid orchestration paints a chilling picture of a night when the supernatural roams free, led by the malevolent figure of Chernabog.
Listen for the dramatic shifts in dynamics and the relentless, menacing rhythms that underscore this spectral dance of darkness. Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" captures the essence of Halloween's spooky allure and the sense of otherworldly encounters that have enthralled generations.
"Huapango" by José Pablo Moncayo
Our concert culminates with the exhilarating "Huapango" by José Pablo Moncayo, a Mexican composer celebrated for his ability to capture the essence of Mexican culture through music. "Huapango" is a spirited and exhilarating work that pays homage to the folk dance and music traditions of Veracruz. With its infectious rhythms and vibrant melodies, this piece invites you to join in the celebration. It's a festive, high-energy finale that leaves no doubt that the joy of seasonal traditions knows no bounds. As you listen to "Huapango," let it serve as a reminder that traditions are not only about remembering the past but also about embracing the vitality of the present and the promise of the future.
"In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg
"In the Hall of the Mountain King" was first written as incidental music for the premier of Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gyntin 1876. Grieg later created two orchestral suites from the incidental music. "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is a musical depiction of Peer Gynt being chased by trolls during his escape from the home of the Mountain King.
"Duetto buffo di due gatti" by Gioachino Rossini
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) had the greatest sense of humor in the history of comic opera, on display in many of his songs as well. The famous "comic duet for two cats," has caused gales of delighted laughter in audiences for nearly 200 years. Consisting of one lyric ‘miau’ (‘meow’), the piece depicts a conversation between two cats who don’t seem to like each other very much!
"Danse macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens
Originally conceived as an art song for voice and piano with a French Text by the poet Henri Cazalis, "Danse Macabre" eventually evolved into a tone poem for violin and large orchestra. According to legend, Death appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle. His skeletons dance for him until the cockerel crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
A percentage of the money raised at the concert went to our community partner, Groundworks Collaborative. Groundworks is a local organization that works with people and systems focused on creating solutions to end hunger and homelessness for all people in our region. You can learn more about their important work in our community at their website, https://groundworksvt.org/.