In a recent New York Times article, David Schiff writes about the interrelationship and contrasts between Hollywood film music and concert music. The "classical world's anti-Hollywood bias goes back to the dawn of film music" Schiff writes, and yet a classical composer has won the Academy Award for best film score for two years running.
Miklos R & oacute;zsa may have paid for his LA swimming pool by scoring such celluloid epics as "Double Indemnity" and "Ben Hur," but the concert hall music of this servant of Hollywood has earned him a place among the hearts of serious music lovers as well.
Six years after his death, the Oscar-winning composer is getting acclaim for his disciplined yet intensely passionate classical works. One of his compositions, the "Cello Concerto," will be performed at the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra opening concert September 22 with Lynn Harrell. Harrell recently recorded the R & oacute;zsa Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony on the Telarc label. (The same recording features Robert McDuffie, a YSO January 19, 2002 guest artist, in the R & oacute;zsa Violin Concerto.)
Signs: Schiff cites technology and the ensuing age of short attention spans and sound bites as signs of our diminished expectation of the symphonic structure and the subsequent MTV-ization of the concert hall predicting that before long "everything will be film music."
Although some may cite cause for worry and even alarm, there is an amazing abundance, quality and variety of musical life performed by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra at Powers Auditorium during September. For instance, the appearance of pop hit maker Michael Bolton September 18 and cellist Harrell, famed soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher, September 22. Both will perform with the YSO.
The orchestra's range from troubadour Bolton's R & amp;B, pop tunesmanship, R & oacute;zsa's contemporary classical composition with Harrell to their gala opening concert presentation of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, a piece considered by many to have heralded the birth of music's Romantic era and the greatest single step taken by a composer in the history of the symphonic form and possibly music in general discredits naysayers' predictions on the health and vitality of symphony orchestras.
"As symphony executives try to make art their business," Chicago Symphony Orchestra president Henry Fogel commented, "they are forced to admit their organizations depend as much on the marketplaces as do the companies that sell SUVs."
Critical issue: Broadening the audience of the symphony orchestra, whether in Chicago or Youngstown, is a critical issue. Throughout the 2001-2002 season, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will program to a wide spectrum of musical appetites with a variety of classical masterpiece concerts and popular entertainment. Harrell and Michael Bolton begin the orchestra's musical journey.
Two artists from different musical genres, and yet one finds similarities. Each began their career while still in their teens, establishing their niche in their chosen field and earning double Grammy awards.
Harrell, born to musical parents, took a different path from his opera-star father Mack Harrell, the great Metropolitan Opera baritone. But like his father, Harrell has been known for his glorious tone, which won him two Grammy Awards: in 1981 for the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio and in 1987 for the complete Beethoven Piano Trios. At age 18, Harrell was hired by the Cleveland Orchestra's George Szell. Two years later, Harrell was named principal cellist in the orchestra.
Bolton's first Grammy arrived in 1989 with "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" and his second for "When A Man Loves A Woman" in 1991.
By age 15, Bolton had signed his first record deal, plugging his voice into Connecticut bar bands before he was even technically allowed in a bar.