Editor’s note: The Galveston Symphony Orchestra will open its 2018-19 season Sunday. Music Director Trond Saeverud talked about the program.
Q: The season opens with a pops concert featuring music from the movies. What are we going to hear?
A: We are opening with a lot of great music. Yes, the whole program is connected to movies, but in different ways. Some are scores written specifically for movies — including legendary soundtracks from “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gone with the Wind.” Others were chosen because they have been used in so many famous movie moments — and include the opening of Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and excerpts from Tchaikovsky. For each selection, I will talk about where and how this music was used in the movies.
Yes, this is all “older” music — but used in a surprising number of “newer” films. For the Wagner, I found 29 so far.
Q: Some wonderful music has been composed for film. Composers such as Virgil Thomson, Dmitri Shostakovich, Aaron Copland and Erich Korngold wrote scores for movies. Do you think there is something in the style of any particular composer that lends itself to film?
A: Yes, those composers wrote great movie scores, and I specifically think American composers’ music is good in large-scale movies. One reason is their frequent use of large intervals that are effective in describing grandeur and vast expanses — both in terms of scenery and epic tales. Instead of Thompson or Copland, we include the second movement from Howard Hanson’s second Symphony, famously used in “The Alien.” This is a great example of the music working against, rather than with, the story: this beautiful movement is mostly peaceful and comforting, though here used to heighten the terrifying undertone of danger and only occasionally indicating that darker mood. Several other selections also play against the plot. We will talk about all this during the concert. I think it will be fun.
Q: Please tell us a bit about the upcoming season, which seems to have something for everyone. Looking at the year as a whole, what are you hoping the achieve?
A: We hope to keep presenting concerts that are exciting, uplifting and entertaining — and that have a lasting and meaningful impact. So, to keep things interesting, there is a very deliberate contrast between seasons, between concerts — and even within each concert.
Our Halloween concert is extra scary this time, and I will talk about the story behind the most eerie pieces. The Valentine’s concert features Mahler’s “Titan” — and Elgar’s passionate cello concerto. In November, we celebrate some of the greatest works of Mozart and Beethoven — and, by contrast, the April concert features seldom-heard works by Poulenc and Barber. We have another world premiere that I am very excited about and wonderful soloists throughout the season. The orchestra and I are looking very much forward to experiencing all this with our Galveston audience.