Winter 2016

Conductor Eszter Horvath
with Guest Artist The Heavy Blinkers

Featuring Cindy Thong, piano (Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue) and
Gina Burgess, concertmaster

Pieces for Orchestra

The Heavy Blinkers (1996-Present)

Selections include:

  • God Bless Hazel
  • Crystal Clear
  • Summer Won't Ask You Twice
  • Strain On My Heart
  • Anna Karina, I Was Wrong

The Heavy Blinkers are an orchestral pop band formed in Halifax in 1996 as the brain child of songwriter Jason Michael MacIsaac. They have released five studio albums and have toured in Canada, USA and Europe.

Current members are:

  • J. David Christensen - flute, clarinet, percussion
  • Adam Fine - double bass, electric bass
  • Ellen Gibling - orchestral harp
  • Warda Limaye - violin
  • Melanie Stone - vocals
  • Stewart Legere - vocals

Pavane for a Dead Princess

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) is a well-known piece written for solo piano by the French composer Maurice Ravel in 1899 when he was studying composition at the Conservatoire de Paris under Gabriel Fauré. Ravel also published an orchestrated version of the Pavane in 1910; it is scored for two flutes, oboe, two clarinets (in B-flat), two bassoons, two horns, harp, and strings. 

Ravel described the piece as "an evocation of a pavane that a little princess [infanta] might, in former times, have danced at the Spanish court". The pavane was a slow processional dance that enjoyed great popularity in the courts of Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

This antique miniature is not meant to pay tribute to any particular princess from history, but rather expresses a nostalgic enthusiasm for Spanish customs and sensibilities, which Ravel shared with many of his contemporaries (most notably Debussy and Albéniz) and which is evident in some of his other works such as the Rapsodie espagnole and the Boléro.

Ravel dedicated the Pavane to his patron, the Princesse de Polignac. He published it in 1900, but it attracted little attention until the Spanish pianist Ricardo Viñes gave the first performance on April 5, 1902. The work soon became very popular, although Ravel came to think of it as "poor in form" and unduly influenced by the music of Chabrier.

Rhapsody in Blue

George Gershwin (1898–1937)

Rhapsody in Blue is a 1924 musical composition by American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.

Commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman, the composition was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé several times, including the original 1924 scoring, "theater orchestra" setting published in 1926, and the symphony orchestra scoring published in 1942, though completed earlier. The piece received its premiere in the concert, An Experiment in Modern Music, which was held on February 12, 1924, in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Whiteman and his band with Gershwin playing the piano.

The editors of the Cambridge Music Handbooks opined that "The Rhapsody in Blue (1924) established Gershwin's reputation as a serious composer and has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works."

7:30 pm, St. Andrew's United Church, 1390 Robie Street (at Coburg Road), Halifax, NS

Tickets available online, at the door, and the Bowed Instrument Shop.