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Mariposa Symphony Orchestra's Festive Holiday Concert: Dec. 22 | Arts & Culture

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Mariposa Symphony Orchestra's Festive Holiday Concert: Dec. 22
Mariposa Symphony Orchestra's Festive Holiday Concert: Dec. 22

The following information was provided by the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra:

The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s most popular annual concert will celebrate the Season on Saturday, December 22 at 7:00pm in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School.   Maestro Les Marsden has programmed well-known festive music, along with “some really great unknown music that I guarantee will brighten everyone’s evening.”   For the well-known: Leroy Anderson’s perennial favorite “Sleigh Ride,” which – according to authorities, is the most often-performed and often-recorded piece in the history of Western music.  The American Society of Composers and Producers (ASCAP)’s statistics show that the piece remains the most popular piece of Christmas music in the US.   According to Marsden, “and the funny thing is that the song wasn’t written as a holiday song: Anderson conceived the work during a July heat wave in 1946!”   Another well-known piece on the concert will be one of Johann Strauss, Jr’s most popular waltz: “Frühlingsstimmen” – better known as “Voice(s) of Spring.”  The piece will immediately be familiar from its memorable use in two Three Stooges’ comedy shorts.
Nearly unknown, but “remarkably wonderful, tuneful music” will also be performed: the fourth orchestral suite “Scènes Pittoresques” by French composer Jules Massenet, 20th-century light classical British composer Eric Coates’ evocative “London Suite” and – according to Marsden, “one of the greatest unknown pieces ever”: the overture to Irish composer Michael Balfe’s opera “The Bohemian Girl.”   Balfe was the undisputed greatest operatic composer in Britain during the 19th century, a man whose fame literally stretched from Russia to the United States.   Celebrated across the music world, he was a respected friend of Rossini and Verdi and composed adeptly in English, Italian and French opera.  His style and works served as models for other composers, with “The Bohemian Girl” his greatest triumph.  Countless productions of that opera ran for years in New York, London, Paris, Rome and in all the centers of international music but after Balfe’s 1870 death, both he and his works were soon forgotten.       
Marsden spent months tracking down the performing parts of the overture to “The Bohemian Girl,” which he had first heard decades ago as a teen.   He discovered Balfe had composed two somewhat different overtures to the opera; after contacting the recognized authorities and publishers of Balfe’s work, no one could explain why.  Or where to find that first (unpublished) version of the overture.   So Marsden obtained the second version and also created a score and parts of the first version’s initial few minutes from listening to a 1933 recording.   He composed a “faithful” modulatory bridge in Balfe’s style which then leads seamlessly into the first bars of the second version of the overture, so “our audience could hear the best of the first overture, and the entirety of the second.”   Why?   “Primarily because that elusive first version of the overture includes the great “hit” tune from the opera: “I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls” which – for some odd reason, Balfe left out of his second version.” The MSO’s December 22 concert will mark the premiere of this new, “complete” version of The Bohemian Girl Overture(s), only in Mariposa and only for the MSO’s audience.
The concert will conclude with “Sierra Christmas Party” which was first composed for the MSO’s very first-ever concert by Marsden and which has closed every December concert since, by popular demand.  The MSO’s 11th Season Festive Holiday Concert will be presented one night only: Saturday, December 22 at 7:00 in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School.  Tickets are now on sale at the Mariposa County Arts Council's Offices and Treetop Gallery at 5009 Highway 140 in Mariposa (top floor of Chocolate Soup) at the southern edge of the town of Mariposa, adjacent to the Mariposa Art Park.   Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.   Further information is also available from the Arts Council by calling (209) 966-3155; hours are M – F, 9/am to 5/pm.  Tickets are also available at the Mariposa County Visitors Center (please call for hours) across from Miners Inn at the north end of town; their phone number is (209) 966-7081.

More details about the concert can also be found by visiting: http://www.arts-mariposa.org/symphony.html.

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