After ending last season with Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique," Maestro Gerardo Edelstein knew he wanted the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra's new season to be about stories.
"Our last concert was 'Symphonie Fantastique,' which has an interesting tale behind it," he said. "That idea of 'tales' kept spinning in my head because there are so many pieces so many classical pieces based on tales that you know. I thought it would be a great subject to put together a season."
He said that there were too many songs to choose from and that it was difficult to narrow them down.
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The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra has announced its new season of concerts with the theme of “Tales.”?The first concert, “The 3 Giants,”?will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"It was challenging to pick just a few for the five concerts," he said.
So, he decided to start with the big guns, the "Three B's," Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
"They're often called the First Viennese School," Edelstein said. "Viennese meaning from Vienna Bach is the father of classical music - the way we hear it today, Beethoven is the big revolutionary and Brahms is one of the top romantic composers, developing the musical romantic ideas that were, in a way, laid out already by Bach and Beethoven."
The concert, titled "The 3 Giants," will feature Italian pianist Enrico Elisi, who teaches at the Eastman School of Music and has previously taught at the University of Nevada and Penn State University, where he met Edelstein.
"We collaborated a couple of times - he's fabulous," Edelstein said. "For the main piece, we'll play Beethoven's Symphony No.3. It's a turning point in the history of symphonic music for many reasons - the length of the piece, the orchestration and, you know, the story behind it."
The story is a well-known one among the classical community: Beethoven had originally composed the piece in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, but upon hearing that Bonaparte had declared himself emperor, the composer ripped up the title page of the score and renamed and re-dedicated the piece.
After the season opens with "The 3 Giants," the symphony will turn its attention to its annual holiday concert, "Time to Rejoice."
"This year, we'll have the Williamsport High School Choir back, playing selections from 'Messiah' by Handel and also the very famous, renowned story, 'The Snowman,' " Edelstein said.
"The Snowman" will be narrated by local folklorist and storyteller Fiona Powell with accompaniment by the symphony. The concert also will feature traditional Hanukkah and Christmas songs.
Next year's shows begin with the centerpiece of the season, "Fantastic Tales," for which the symphony will perform a popular piece from a Disney classic.
"[It's] Mussorgsky's 'Night on Bald Mountain,'" Edelstein said. "It's featured in 'Fantasia' - it's the scary one that all the kids cover their eyes for. I remember, as a kid, being terrified by the part."
WSO concertmaster Max Zorin will be showcased as he performs Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade from "One Thousand and One Nights," also known as "Arabian Nights."
The March performance, "The Beauty of Song," will be the season's pop concert. And this year's show features a musician born-and-raised in the City of Williamsport, Morgan Myles. Many area residents will know her as Moran Pinsonneault. She graduated from Loyalsock School District and also was a student at the Uptown Music Collective.
"She's recording her first album in Nashville," Edelstein said. "But she does not want to be called a country music artist because she sings all kinds: rock, pop and country."
The final concert of the season is "Variations," the highlight of which will be "Enigma Variations" by Edward Elgar.