Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center
Hector Berlioz: Death of Ophelia and Meditation from Tristia
with Oak Ridge Chorus, Jaclyn Johnson conductor
Missy Mazzoli: Rouge River Transformation
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Hector Berlioz was a master of orchestration (indeed, he wrote a definitive book on the subject). First we will hear two parts from his rarely-performed Op. 18 Tristia, for chorus and orchestra. Berlioz associated the three unrelated pieces with Hamlet.
New York-based Missy Mazzoli wrote Rouge River Transformation for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She was inspired by the iconic photographs of Charles Sheeler — stirring black-and-white images of the Ford Rouge complex shot in 1927. She says she was struck by Detroit’s ability to inspire a sort of religious awe, noting how often writers in the early 20th century compared the city’s factories to cathedrals.
“Criss-Crossed Conveyers,” the most famous of Sheeler’s Rouge photos, evokes “neither grit nor noise but instead an almost tabernacular grace. The smokestacks in the background look like the pipes of a massive church organ.” It was that image, of factory as musical behemoth, that inspired “Rouge River Transfiguration.”
The concert will close with Symphony Fantastique. It is vivid program music supposedly written when Berlioz was under the influence of Opium. It tells the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who has poisoned himself with opium in the depths of despair because of hopeless, unrequited love.