The Arctic Chamber Orchestra from Fairbanks will perform Prokofiev's "Peter and The Wolf" and Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony No. 3 at 7 p.m. Saturday at Kenai Central High School.
Photo courtesy of the Arctic Cha
Kenai Peninsula listeners this weekend will be treated to a classic tale of boy meets cat, bird and duck, duck runs afoul of wolf, boy defies grandfather to save duck.
OK, maybe not as classic as boy meets girl, but classic folklore, certainly, and classical music.
The Arctic Chamber Orchestra, the traveling arm of the Fairbanks Symphony, will perform Prokofiev’s “Peter and The Wolf” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School. The show is geared toward families, with “Peter and the Wolf” being the center attraction for younger listeners.
“It comes with a narrator who tells a story of Peter and how he doesn’t do what his grandfather tells him and how he does something else instead and gets himself in trouble,” said Jean Brockel with the Performing Arts Society, which is hosting the concert.
Throughout the piece, solo instruments voice the characters to accompany the story narration done by Fairbanks TV news anchor Bob Miller.
“Children really like the story, it’s a fairy tale kind of thing, and it’s just wonderful,” Brockel said. “It’s a pretty familiar piece, particularly for kids.”
“I think it’s just a really great little kids’ kind of introduction to the orchestra,” said Maria Allison, with the Performing Arts Society.
For more adult sensibilities, the orchestra also will perform Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony No. 3. The piece is part ode and part snub to Napoleon. Beethoven originally admired the man who rose to such power without the benefit of noble birth. But Beethoven’s admiration waned when Napoleon crowned himself emperor, becoming more tyrant than temperate leader. The symphony’s dedication reflects Beethoven’s changing attitude, as it was originally dedicated to Napoleon, then simply, “in memory of a great man,” according Allison.
The music reflects a shift, as well. The first movement is celebratory and grand, while the second movement is a funeral march an ode to the memory of a great man. The third movement is lighter, with horns representing the sounds of heroism. The piece ends in a triumphant movement to represent triumph over death.
“It’s a regular, typical Beethoven symphony. There’s four movements, and it’s got a really identifiable theme in the first movement that is kind of heroic,” Allison said. “... It isn’t a particularly kid-oriented piece, but it’s really familiar to people who listen to classical music. It’s just a great piece, a Beethoven, very inspiring for people to listen to.”
The Arctic Chamber Orchestra travels the state and world, particularly seeking spots that are starved for live orchestra performances. Though the peninsula boasts its own orchestra, that hasn’t stopped the Fairbanks group from making several visits over the years, the last of which was to perform the well-received Bach “Brandenburg Concertos,” Brockel said.
“It was a whole afternoon and evening of Bach, and it was just wonderful,” Brockel said. “Everybody was just raving about it. Our audience was really thrilled.”
Individual Arctic Chamber Orchestra performers are no strangers to playing on the peninsula, as well. According to Allison, flutist Dorli McWayne has been a regular performer here; George and Candy Rydlinski, bassoonist and oboist, played here in November 2005 in the Chinook Winds concert; Jane Aspnes has lent French horn notes to local ears; and conductor Dr. Eduard Zilberkant has performed piano concerts here, and is the piano professor at UAF.
There will be faces even more recognizable than these in the orchestra, as several University of Alaska Fairbanks students originally from the peninsula are touring with the group, including Shelah Moreno-Jones, percussionist, Kenai Central High class of 2004, and April Jaillet, clarinetist, Soldotna High class of 2003.
“It’s nice when our young people get their training here and go off and come back with all the new stuff that they got. That’s really exciting,” Brockel said.
Ticket prices have been reduced to accommodate families, Brockel said. Tickets are $25 for families, $10 for adults and $5 for youths. Intermission snacks crispy cereal treats for 50 cents each also were cooked up with kids in mind. The concert will run close to two hours with a 15-minute intermission.
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