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Concerts in the Parks

posted Jun 13, 2015, 4:40 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jun 13, 2015, 4:40 PM ]
This summer, the New York Philharmonic celebrates the 50th anniversary of Concerts in the Parks, a series of free outdoor performances enjoyed by more than 14 million concertgoers since it started in 1965! This Friday, June 19th, they play in Prospect Park from 8:00 - 9:00 pm with fireworks afterwards!

The program includes Hector Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, which he composed in 1844, not as an instrumental introduction to an opera, but as a stand-alone piece intended for concert performance, made up of themes from his very first opera Benvenuto Cellini. The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor by Camille Saint-Saëns was written in 1880. (A concerto features a solo instrument, in this case violin, accompanied by orchestra.)

Igor Stravinsky's Petrushka grew from an idea for a concert piece for orchestra with piano. He had in mind “a distinct picture of a puppet, suddenly endowed with life.” When he played the new work in 1910 for the directors of the Ballet Russes in Paris, they were so enthusiastic they persuaded him to develop it into a whole ballet. La valse, a “choreographic poem for orchestra” was written by Maurice Ravel in 1920. Unlike Petrushka, it was conceived as a ballet first but is now more often heard as a concert work. Composer George Benjamin summarized it as: "Whether or not it was intended as a metaphor, its one-movement design plots the birth, decay and destruction of a musical genre: the waltz."

After the musical fireworks, stay for actual fireworks!