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Photo of Jorgen van Rijen
Saturday Classics

A Symphonic Journey: Tan Dun, Debussy & Still

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Felix Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)
Ferdinand David: Concertino in E flat major for Trombone and Orchestra, Op. 4
Tan Dun: Trombone Concerto: Three Muses in Video Game
Claude Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
William Grant Still: Afro-American Symphony (Symphony No. 1)

A symphonic journey from Early Romantic and Impressionist music to contemporary, featuring the trombone!

Principal trombonist of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Jörgen van Rijen performs Ferdinand David’s Concertino in E flat major for Trombone and Orchestra, Op. 4a work Felix Mendelssohn, who was also a conductor, premiered in 1837. Van Rijen opens the evening with Mendelssohn’s very popular Fingal’s Cave. The trombone stays in the spotlight with Tan Dun’s take on video game heroes. This work shows the “muses” as three ancient Chinese instruments summoned by solo trombone who must subtly but effectively manipulate the sound of his instrument. Van Rijen makes the trombone sound like a bili (reed instrument) in one moment and a xiqin (a two-stringed, bowed instrument) in the next!

The programme continues with a work that, according to the famous conductor Pierre Boulez, singularly awakened modern music – Debussy’s exquisite tone poem, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

The finale of the evening is a blues-inspired work by William Grant Still, the grandson of a former Georgia plantation slave. Still’s Afro-American Symphony written in 1930 became the first symphony written by an African-American and performed for an American audience by a leading orchestra.


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