November 12, 2013

Rachmaninoff Goes Pop

Rachmaninoff's sweeping, soaring melodies have captivated classical audiences and transcended the classical genre, turning up in popular music throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Themes from his second piano concerto have served as inspiration for pop songs like "Full Moon and Empty Arms," made famous by Frank Sinatra in the 1940s:

as well as Eric Carmen's 1975 power ballad "All By Myself."

Carmen also gained inspiration from Rachmaninoff for his 1976 hit single "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again," which directly quotes Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony. Listen to Carmen's version, and compare it to Rachmaninoff's original:

Rachmaninoff's influence on these songs underscores his tremendous gift for writing a great melody that resonates across genres and generations. But, his music is much more than a catchy theme to be extracted and re-purposed. When put into context, these themes become part of a larger picture, seeming to evolve endlessly and go on forever. It's not just about the main theme, but about where it goes, how it changes shape, what's around it, and how all of the lines are woven together, and it's something that the pop versions can't re-create.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perfoms Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 November 14 and 16, 2013 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The program also includes Hindemith's Concert Music for Strings and Brass and Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto. Junichi Hirokami, guest conductor; Erik Behr, oboe.

November 6, 2013

Magical Nutcracker with Rochester City Ballet

This Thanksgiving, be transported by Tchaikovsky’s timeless score and the captivating dance and costumes of The Nutcracker. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this enchanting production by the RPO and Rochester City Ballet. Performances take place at 2 and 7 PM daily Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

The classic tale of Clara and her magical nutcracker is brought to life by talented dancers from the Rochester City Ballet, guest artists from America's top ballet companies, 175 community children, and the Bach Children’s Chorus – with Tchaikovsky's wonderful music performed live by your RPO, conducted by Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair).

RCB Artistic Director Jamey Leverett has created new choreography for The Nutcracker’s signature Land of Snow scene. “The whole show is nostalgic and exciting, with the snow scene being one of the most magical moments in the entire production,” Leverett said. “We’ve updated this classic section to showcase the incredible technique of our dancers and make the scene that much more special.”

Children's tickets start at only $10! Click here for tickets online, or call the Eastman Theatre Box Office at 585-454-2100.

Get ready for The Nutcracker with story readings at Barnes & Noble, Pittsford (Nov. 8, 7 PM), Penfield Library (Nov. 9, 11 AM), Greece Library (Nov. 9, 11 AM), and Strong Museum of Play (Nov. 11, 11 AM and 1 PM). 

Fans are invited to answer Nutcracker trivia questions on Facebook throughout the month of November for a chance to win two tickets to the Sunday evening show. To follow performance preparations and see behind-the-scenes photos of costumes and rehearsals, visit the RCB Facebook page.

Juliana Athayde’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe

As you gear up for your Thanksgiving feast, we have a recipe you’ll enjoy straight from the 2008 RPO Cooks! cookbook. RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde shared her recipes for a full Thanksgiving dinner – brined turkey with gravy, baked acorn squash, stuffing, spinach soufflĂ©, and to top it all off, her mom’s bourbon pumpkin pie.

The cookbook includes more than 200 recipes from RPO musicians, conductors, guest artists, Rochester Philharmonic League members, and RPO staff.

Purchase your own copy of the RPO cookbook in the Eastman Theatre Shop at 433 East Main Street, open during RPO performances (one hour prior to the show through the end of the concert) and every Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Juliana’s Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 c. undiluted evaporated milk OR heavy cream
1/4 c. bourbon
1 9” pie shell in pie pan (store bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 450°. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients, beating well after each addition. Pour into pie shell and bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then reduce to 325° and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the custard filling is firm. Serves 8.