July 18, 2014

Classical Mystery Tour and RPO “Come Together" to celebrate The Beatles

50 years after four lads from Liverpool made a splash on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles remain one of the most popular and influential musical groups of all time. This Sunday at CMAC, Classical Mystery Tour (an international Beatles tribute band) will return to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, following their last engagement at the RPO’s 2012 Season Opener Concert under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik.

In honor of the Fab Four, we asked RPO musicians and Guest Conductor Martin Herman for a little “Help” in sharing their favorite Beatles songs and earliest memories of the group that changed the face of popular music forever. For tickets and more information, visit the RPO's website.

Martin Herman, guest conductor for Classical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles
Last appearance with the RPO: 2008
Martin Herman

Beatles Song: "Strawberry Fields Forever" for its unique sound and the unusual instrumental colors, which were very experimental in popular music of the time. It shows the Beatles at the peak of their song-writing powers while using the recording studio itself as an instrument.

Beatles Memory: Hearing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" on the radio as a kid. What I remember was how directly powerful those harmonies sounded.  I later realized it was their use of those open perfect intervals like 4ths and 5ths that drove the sound of their vocals. No one else sounded like that.

Bonus Memory: I was lucky enough to see the Beatles perform live at the Atlanta Stadium in 1965. The most powerful musical memory for me from that concert was John Lennon using his elbows to slide up and down the electric piano in "I'm Down". That had a visual and aural effect that I've never forgotten.

Perrin Yang, Violin 1
Years with the RPO: 23
Perrin Yang

Beatles Song: “Eleanor Rigby.”  It's just one of the classic Beatles tunes that incorporates lots of string writing, so as a string player, it's always fun to play.  But the real reason it's one of my favorites right now is that my band, “Right Turn Racer” came up with an updated version!

Beatles Memory: Watching "Yellow Submarine" on TV with my brother and sister when we were kids and thinking it was both cool and strange.

Kathy Kemp, Acting Principal Cellist
Years with the RPO: 37
Kathy Kemp

Beatles Song: “Hey Jude” I like the lyrics, the beat and the tune. It’s always stuck in my head!

Beatles Memory: When they appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I watched with my cousins and they were all emotional! I couldn't understand their reaction, but I really liked the music!

Stefan Reuss, recently retired Principal Cellist
Years with the RPO: 25
Stefan Reuss

Beatles Song: “Help” and the other songs on that album, like “The Night Before” and “Ticket to Ride” because they were the first Beatles songs I heard.

Beatles Memory: My older sister buying the “Help” record. My parents were reserved [about the music] at first, but then admitted that they were singing rather nicely and in tune! I loved it, even though I didn't want to admit it to my sister or my parents. I still love it, admitting it freely now.

That music was everywhere when I grew up in Germany. I remember the feverish anticipation each time before a new Beatles album came out and how it was always totally different from the previous one.

For a look at the Classical Mystery Tour experience, check out this video!

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