St. Matthew’s Music Guild presents The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s under the direction of Dwayne S. Milburn in music of Haydn, Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, and Ethan Helm on Friday, April 29, at 8 p.m.
New York composer and saxophonist Ethan Helm composed Dream Walk Through Istanbul in 2018 on commission from the St. Matthew’s Music Guild. It is an autobiographical work of a day spent by the composer in Istanbul after a long transatlantic flight. In it, Helm, a jazz saxophonist, imagines two jazz musicians making their way through the streets of the city, experiencing the diverse sights, sounds and smells in a sleep-deprived wonder. Helm will be the featured soloist along with his musical partner, Owen Broder, also on saxophone.
Aaron Copland’s Quiet City was composed in 1939 for the play Quiet City by Irwin Shaw. The piece is scored for solo trumpet, English horn and strings. The performance is dedicated to the memory of David Searfoss, the orchestra’s long-time principal trumpet who died in late 2021.
William Grant Still’s Out of the Silence was also written in 1939, following his marriage to Verna Arvey, a pianist, journalist, and writer. Still, known as the Dean of African-American composers was a graduate of Oberlin College and the first African-American to have symphonic and operatic performances by major institutions in the U.S. Arvey said of Out of the Silence, “only in meditation does one discover beauties remote from the problems of earth.”
Franz Joseph Haydn composed more than 100 symphonies during his long career. The jovial Symphony No. 88 was composed in 1787. Like all of Haydn’s mature works, it is full of grace, humor and charm. The rousing finale became famous after a performance by Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic went viral, showing the conductor doing little more than nodding and smiling at the orchestra as they played precisely and at break-neck speed.
All Music Guild concerts take place at St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Avenue, in Pacific Palisades. Tickets, season subscriptions and complete information are available at MusicGuildOnline.org. Phone: (310) 573-7422. Masks are encouraged for all audience members. All audience members must show proof of having been fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccine booster is not required at this time.
Submitted by Thomas Neenan