Listen to Music from NVPO Pops In Love Concert

Guest Violin Soloist Mitsuru Yonezaki
NVPO Guest Violin Soloist Mitsuru Yonezaki

The Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestra held its first ever Pops concert, “Pops in Love,” on Sunday, February 13th at Foxborough High School. This concert featured 12-year-old violin sensation Mitsuru Yonezaki in the Sarasate “Carmen Fantasy,” as well as selections from Rossini, Leonard Bernstein, and local favorite Leroy Anderson.

Audio clips from the Pops In Love concert are available for listening below:

NOTE: Video clips from this concert are also available here.

(Click on the play button next to each song to listen)

William Tell Overture – Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Conducted by Patrick Valentino, Assistant Conductor

Carmen Fantasy on Themes of Bizet, Op. 25 – Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)
Mitsuru Yonezaki, Violin

Trumpeter’s Lullaby – Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)

The Pennywhistle Song – Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)

Fiddle-Faddle – Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)

Selections from Ragtime – Stephen Copland (arr. Kessler)

“Hoe-down” from Rodeo – Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Themes from 007 (arr. Calvin Custer)

Begin the Beguine – Cole Porter (1891-1964) arr. Dragon

West Side Story Selections – Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) arr. Mason

The Washington Post – John Philip Sousa

Program Notes:

The NVPO’s February 13, 2011 Pops in Love concert brings together a bouquet of all-time musical favorites in keeping with the theme of the Valentine holiday. The program opens with Gioachino Rossini’s (1792- 1868)William Tell Overture, written for his opera of the same name that depicts the struggle of the Swiss nation for independence from their much larger Austrian neighbor. The opera blends action with romance, legendary feats of archery with humor and playful trickery, and emergent European nationalism with an eternal love story. Rossini’s overture captures these diverse themes in its many moods, including an amorous opening sequence with cello solo, a storm scene, a depiction of nature in the meadow as ornamented by the woodwinds, and last but not least a rousing cavalry charge featuring the orchestra’s brass sections.

Next we turn in our Pops program to the music from yet another famous opera, George Bizet’s Carmen. However, in this instance we will hear a piece written by the famous 19th Century violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate (1844- 1908)who has created a musical Fantasy based upon themes from Bizet’s renowned opera. This delightful but fiendishly difficult piece will be performed for us by the sensational twelve-year old violinist Mitsuru Yonezaki.

The next three pieces in the program come to us from Leroy Anderson (1908 – 1975), a Cambridge, MA born composer famous for his short, playful and humorous compositions. These works regularly find their way into “pops” orchestra concerts across the globe. Anderson was trained here in Boston at the New England Conservatory and at Harvard University where he subsequently worked as a conductor and composer. Much of his music was debuted by the Boston Pops. The NVPO’s offering of Anderson’s music for this afternoon includes a good cross section of his work and musical style: Trumpeter’s Lullaby, The Pennywhistle Song and Fiddle-Faddle.

Our concert also includes examples of the craft of Copland, Custer and Porter. Aaron Copland (1900- 1990) is perhaps the dean of American classical music composers of the 20th Century. Copland’s “Hoedown” is taken from his popular ballet Rodeo, a story of life, work, and romance set in the Southwest. By contrast Calvin Custer (1939 -1998) is known primarily for his arrangements of other composers’ works, in this case the Themes from 007, the music behind the ever-popular James Bond movies.  And no love-oriented concert would be complete without a sample of the sensuous music of Cole Porter (1891- 1964),in this case his Begin the Beguine in an arrangement for orchestra by Carmen Dragon.

To round out this Valentine’s Day special with the NVPO, our concert features two compilations of Broadway tunes: Stephen Flaherty’s (b. 1960) music to Ragtime and Leonard Bernstein’s (1918- 1990) music to West Side Story. Based on the book by E.L. Doctorow, the musical Ragtime explores the social, cultural, and ethnic tensions of life in America at the turn of the 20th Century. For his music, Flaherty draws on the emerging Ragtime jazz of that period. In the closing piece of this wonderful pops concert, Bernstein’s musical excerpts from West Side Story accompanies the composer’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – this time set in 1950’s New York City, and an appropriate tale of love with which to end this NVPO’s Valentine’s Day treat!

Leave a Reply