Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson brings a variety of music from around the world and from various years to local audiences. For Saturday’s show, he and the SSO will stay close to home.
“This program is one I have looked forward to for a long, long time. With these pieces, we vividly hear the development of a purely American sound in symphonic music,” he said.
The SSO will be joined by versatile up-and-coming singer Candice Hoyes for a program of American greats including Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Jessie Montgomery and Florence Price at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clark State Performing Arts Center. Tickets are still available.
The prose-poetry of Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915″ was written in just 90 minutes by James Agee. Barber then put the verse in what Wilson called “purely American style with the same optimistic and expansive qualities as his contemporary, Copland.”
Hoyes, a classically-trained operatic soprano who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with artists including Lin Manuel Miranda, Chaka Khan and Wynton Marsalis, was Wilson’s choice to bring do Barber’s vocals properly.
“Candice is equally adept at both the classical and jazz idioms and is the perfect proponent for Barber’s style,” he said.
Wilson calls Copland’s “Symphony No. 3″ the great American symphony to date, saying it’s massive in its orchestration and vocabulary and speaking to the country, although it was written during the dark days of World War II, around the time the SSO was founded, and includes influences of folk and jazz.
“It is full of hope and optimism, and its melodies can definitely be traced to our heritage,” said Wilson. “The familiar ‘Fanfare for the Common Man,’ a piece that Copland wrote a few years earlier for the Cincinnati Symphony, is the basis for the final movement, so familiar tunes abound.”
Although the majority of her manuscripts were lost for decades, Wilson said the music of Florence Price is becoming a staple in the repertoire of American orchestras. The SSO will open the program with Price’s “Dances in the Canebrakes.”
“Just like the other composers on this program, she creates a unique style of writing that reflects her African-American heritage with folk-like melodies fused with African rhythmic drive,” Wilson said.
Montgomery’s “Strum” will round out the program.
HOW TO GO
What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra with guest vocalist Candice Hoyes
Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4
More info: springfieldsym.org/candice-hoyes/
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