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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Symphony Of The Hills Performs Music For All Time

Phil Houseal
Gene Dowdy, music director of Symphony of the Hills

Kerrville's symphony orchestra's next performance is tonight.  


Symphony of the Hills' Music Director Gene Dowdy says they'll start the concert with a song we all know, but we'd never expect a symphony to perform.


"'Happy Birthday,'” he laughed. “The theme of the concert is Music For All Time. John Williams took 'Happy Birthday,’ the song sung at every child's birthday forever. I mean this is a virtuosic orchestra display. It is incredibly difficult, and challenging. And it's fun!”



Next up they tackle something that’s also familiar: part of Vivaldi's look at “The Four Seasons.”


“Vivaldi actually wrote these sonnets about how the seasons make people feel, like the chattering of your teeth when it's really cold,” he said. “And all of a sudden the violins are going like ‘chinka-chinka-chinka-chinka.’ It's like chattering teeth.”


With that in mind, you may hear Vivaldi in an all new light when you hear those violins next time around.



"We're also doing Van Suppe's ‘Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna’ so there's your whole 24-hour period represented in one piece,” Dowdy said. They take an intermission, then come back with more from Music Of All Time.


“On the second half we're going to open with a very enigmatic piece because life can be enigmatic, so Charles Ives' ‘The Unanswered Question,’ he said. “And for me that piece has always just represented the question of life: why are we here?"


They will also perform an excerpt from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite.


“The best is saved for last though. Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird Suite,” Dowdy said. “The end of that piece is...I mean...exalting! The music is fast and powerful and uplifting and brilliant.”


Also at the Cailloux Theater event: a pre-concert wine reception, at which they will detail the music from next season's performances.  

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.