Deconstructing Christmas

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Deconstructing Christmas


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


Thought I would unpack each element of our coming ‘Home for the Holidays’ concert for you, piece by piece, deconstructing every morsel and delight until all that’s left are a few crumbs on the cookie plate….
 
Okay, not really.
 
In fact, the best part of the show is the element of surprise.  What lovely moods can we bring with the mellifluous voices of the Erie Philharmonic Chorus?  What razamuhtazz can we reveal through the voice of Erie’s own Playhouse star Kate Neubert Lechner?  What joys abound when Penn State Behrend’s Young People’s Chorus take the stage and sing as one?  And what of our own Erie Philharmonic, in symphonic holiday splendor?

 You’ll just have to come to the Warner Theatre to find out!  The Saturday matinee concert is one act, designed for families to enjoy together in a concise but colorful format.  The evening concert is our full, two-act performance with all of the bells and whistles.  In either case, we want you to be there, because our most important mission is to get you and your family into the joyous mood of the season.  We want to celebrate all that make this 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year' with you and yours, and thank you for your support as we continue to strive to bring the best music possible to Erie.
 
May you and your family have a beautiful holiday, and we’ll see you on Saturday.
 

Yours,
 
Daniel Meyer



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Christmas Memories


From guest soloist Kate Neubert Lechner


I’ve always found that music has been the cornerstone in my life, so it’s no surprise that I connect much of the Holiday season to music.  Some of my fondest memories from my childhood and beyond all have a soundtrack.  Nat King Cole’s Christmas albums underscore decorating tree and most of the holiday season when I was a kid.  I know my mom didn’t really have Nat on repeat all December, but his recordings are just immediately evoke the holidays for me. 

Christmas morning is Arthur Fieldler and the Boston Pops “A Christmas Festival”, with that fantastic brass pealing “Joy to the World.”  And, one of the most special memories, Christmas Eve is Silent Night, sung sitting next to my grandmother during the candlelit service with the room being lit only by candles.  I can still remember exactly what she looked like and the warmth, love, and peace that radiated.  

I am so honored and happy to be able to kick off the Holiday season with the Erie Philharmonic and add a few new musical memories to my holiday vault and hope that audiences will be able to take some special memories away with them as well.



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Live from Studio Q - Demarre McGill

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Live from Studio Q - Demarre McGill

Live in the studio with Principal Flute of the MET Opera Demarre McGill and host Brian Hannah


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Classical Rivalries

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Classical Rivalries


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


We often think about the incredible competition that exists between performers.  Classical music has its share of high-profile events where the top singers, pianists, and violinists all vie for the title of best in the world.  Careers are launched by winning one such coveted prize, and although triumph in a major international competition like the Queen Elizabeth, the Tchaikovsky, or the Van Cliburn can act as a springboard, it is certainly no guarantee of fame and fortune.

When it comes to composers, we tend to think of each living in her own world.  We imagine composers living in isolated spheres, laboring late by candlelight, spinning master creations by dipping a quill into ink and transcribing passion into tiny notes and rests.  But in reality, composers live in the very same competitive atmosphere as performers.  There are a finite number of orchestras, and the opportunities for composer to have a work premiered by an orchestra of the caliber of the Erie Philharmonic is actually quite rare.  And let's face it, with amazing works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Strauss, and Beethoven, the field of works from which we can select our concert programs is already crowded.  It can be hard to find a contemporary voice who can stand alongside those great composers and have something valid to say and be of a similar quality.

But we can and we must be a part of that natural process.  We must continue to support the composers of our time and encourage them to write music that resonates today, using the instruments of yesterday.  Our concert culture today is quite different than that of Mozart or Beethoven's day.  Concertgoers then expected that the music they would hear would be new to them.  They wanted to experience the latest creations.  They craved the adventure of being a part of that creative process.  That is why it is so fun to think of what kinds of rivalries and competitions existed between Mozart and Salieri, between Beethoven and Rossini.  We can imagine the sheer jealousies that sprang from each composer hearing a great performance or hearing another audience leap to its feet or demand an encore.  We can think of how composers took their cues from their rivals, either through imitation or through forging a consciously distinct path from that of their competitors.  

We will look into those competitive composers in our concert on Saturday, when we pit two 'rival pairs' against each other.   Three of the four composers emerged victorious.  Their music is safely considered to be within the 'canon.'  Their music has stood the test of time and now continue to be performed with a frequency that leads us to call them 'masters.'  Mr. Salieri, very popular and highly-regarded in his day, remains on the periphery (and would be forgotten were it not for Peter Shaffer's famous play and film 'Amadeus'.)  We will feature one of his charming scores to give you a chance to assess whether or not he's has been unjustly neglected.  



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