Premiere of "Rejoice!" This Week!
Saturday evening marks the world, and local, premiere of Rejoice!-A Holiday Overture by the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (MA) under the direction of Cynthia Woods. The piece will be part of the orchestra's Holiday Pops program.
The work is a fun set of variations on the ancient Medieval carol (c. 1400), In dulci jubilo. It opens with a brilliant celebratory hint at the theme a la Resphigi and then allows different sections a chance to "rejoice" on their own in different ways. A brief collection of hockets across the orchestra provide a brief Baroque-like flavor with horns entering in a gentle Hindemith-like quartal harmony. The strings take over with a jig-like section reminiscent of classic 20th-Century English string music a la Holst in this instance. The brass, having sat listening, burst onto the scene with their own jazzier rendition in a semi-Big Band style a la Glenn Miller with the clarinets popping in for some Benny Goodman-like riffs. The strings soon return to add some flair and color (referencing here the orchestra's past programming of Ellington suites). The big tune finally returns in a triumphant complete statement rising out of the orchestra before we end with a thrilling Mahlerian mashup (which is a happy coincidence as the orchestra recently performed Mahler's first symphony!) and a brilliant final cadence.
The little instrumental and sectional approaches throughout the work are equally important as personal thank yous to the orchestra and its members whose dedication to bringing great masterworks to audiences has been important inspirationally to my own return to performing in the region. The CSO not only brings great music at affordable ticket prices, but it also partners with local community organizations to help raise awareness for service and other opportunities which makes it decidely unique. It will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in the coming year, so why not "rejoice" a little early!
Following the performance at Arlington (MA) town Hall this week, the music and score will be made available at JW Pepper. A link will post on the WORKS LIST page.
One always hopes a piece will connect with an ensemble and it feels as if the work has been embraced and enjoyed--even when some of it provides plenty of challenges! For that I am deeply greatful and hope that this piece may have a life beyond the orchestra as groups look to enhance their holiday programs. Hope you can join us this Saturday @ 7PM for this and other great holiday music.