From Music Director Daniel Meyer
Do you remember there used to be commercials for an entire set of albums featuring the 1001 Greatest Classical Hits of All Time? I think it might have even been K-Tel, and while snippets of those ‘greatest hits’ flew by, there were images of sunsets, waterfalls, bees pollinating flowers, and men and women with wispy, wind-blown hair scrolling down the television screen? It struck me at the time to be horribly cheesy, but I did of course remember some of those excerpts and am reminded of K-Tel every time those hits make their way onto my rostrum. I’m now at the point of my life where it is a distinct pleasure to revel in some of those ‘cheesy’ hits. Indeed, it’s not Grieg’s fault that his music made onto that list. Nor Liszt’s, Borodin’s, nor Khatchaturian’s. In fact, the mere reason I may have thought they were less-than-serious has everything to do with the way they were presented in those commercials and nothing to do with their worth as pieces of music.
I have to admit that the classical music establishment is also to blame to some degree for some of these popular classics falling by the wayside. Somehow, somewhere, someone decided that Sabre Dance was not equal to the German Requiem in terms of weight, import, and seriousness. Okay, so maybe it’s not. But it never intended to be so. Pieces like Sabre Dance are designed to enchant and delight. They make the orchestra sound great, and what a blow for musicians and audiences that they have lost a home on our concert stages. There is a veritable treasure-trove of great pieces that neither fit neatly onto today’s pops concerts nor symphonic subscription concerts, and we owe it to you to play these very attractive, vibrant, sweeping, (and dare I say) fun pieces of music.
That is what Saturday’s Pops Opening night is all about. We want to bring those fun K-Tel moments to you in their technicolor splendor, and play them without reservation. Their cymbal crashes, sweeping romantic chords, and triumphant climaxes are all worthy of our attention and effort, and I dare say that the opportunity to make the Philharmonic the ‘star of the show’ through these pieces is one of the main reasons I wanted to start the Philharmonic Season with such a colorful and orchestrally-focused concert.
One side note, I think this might be the first every performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture that I have ever conducted indoors!
See you at the Warner, and Happy New Season
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic