New World Symphony delights Deer Valley with American theme
A combination like the backdrop of Deer Valley and Antonin Dvorak’s America-celebrating "New World Symphony" sound like the perfect marriage and the Utah Symphony’s performance on Friday night did not disappoint.
The evening was a bit of an American special with composer Joan Tower’s classical contemporary composition Made in America leading off the evening.
Next up was an encore performance by Time for Three, a Philadelphia-based trio of young men playing two violins and a double base. The group, Tf3 for short, played the night before at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and then headed up to Deer Valley Resort to perform with the Utah Symphony for the first half of the Friday-night performance.
Tf3, made up of Ranaan Meyer, Zach DePue and Nick Kendall, followed the American theme by playing four pieces, each a different style, to exemplify the diversity of country. The American Suite, arranged by Meyer, included pieces entitled Gigue, MoHawk, Hymn and The Orange Blossom Special. Between each work came a delightful and humorous commentary from the group, adding to the enjoyment of the evening. The first half ended with the blue-grass standard Orange Blossom Special, a lively tune that prepared the audience for the second half devoted to works by Dvorak.
Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World" was written by the Bohemian composer while he spent time in America from 1892 to 1895. For those that didn’t know they knew Dvorak’s New World Symphony, the first few bars of the first movement quickly drew the listeners in with a familiar tune. The slow introduction soon led to a melodic fanfare of horns heard throughout the rest of the piece.
The next movement is even more familiar with the tune of the spiritual "Goin Home" running throughout the performance. The tune is a Dvorak original with the words of the spiritual "Goin Home" being added later, but the tune’s familiarity immediately draw the audience in, allowing them to gaze into the night sky and hum along. Both African-American and Native American melodies could be heard throughout this movement, lending to the truly American feel of the piece. Dvorak was influenced by Longfellow’s "The Song of the Hiawatha" poem in the symphony, although he didn’t visit the area of America where the poem takes place until after the symphony was nearly completed.
The third movement was the most spirited of the four movements, with a repetitive triangle playing throughout, and a rustic-sounding section that allowed listeners to sit back and picture America being settled and going through the growing pains of a new nation.
The New World Symphony ended with a blending of the other three movements that featured the range of the brass and wood wind sections.
The Utah Symphony’s performance drew a hearty standing ovation from the crowd.
The Deer Valley Music series with the Utah Symphony marks conductor Keith Lockhart’s final season. Performances will continue through Aug. 16 ending with a performance by Gladys Knight.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.