Ulster Orchestra: Rustioni Conducts a Postcard from the USA

Ulster Orchestra: Rustioni Conducts a Postcard from the USA

Friday, 3 June 2022, 7.30pm

Bernstein Symphonic Dances: West Side Story
Copland Clarinet Concerto
Jessie Montgomery Banner
Gershwin Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture

Daniele Rustioni Conductor
Michael Collins Clarinet

The 2021/22 Season ends with another musical postcard – this time a riotous carnival of rhythm from the USA! Bernstein’s thrilling set of Symphonic Dances are derived from his music for West Side Story. The influences of jazz and Latin run rampant throughout the music, with clever orchestration and a huge percussion section emphasising the rhythms, so it feels balletic even without dancers on stage, while the romantic depiction of Tony and Maria’s fatal romance soar throughout.

As interest in swing and big band jazz waned, bandleader and clarinettist Benny Goodman approached Aaron Copland to commission a Concerto. The result is a sublime opening movement that resonates with all of the same open space that can be heard in the likes of Appalachian Spring, and a linking cadenza that shifts the mood from contemplation to the spiky jazz of the second movement. The ensemble’s energy builds and a Rhapsody in Blue-style glissando for soloist brings the work to a spectacular close. Our soloist is the wonderful Michael Collins.

“The ravishing opening pages of the Copeland are given their full quota of swoon and the collective phrasing of the orchestral strings is consistently excellent - again the chamber-music qualities of this performance are a particular delight and Collins proves a strong and committed advocate for the work” International Record Review

The programme closes with Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture, which cuts a glorious symphonic cross-section through this American classic. The perfect concert to end the season and lead you into Summertime!

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