Everett Philharmonic to open 8th season with English masterworks

Sep 20, 2017
Courtesy of: Everett Philharmonic Orchestra Soloist and cellist John Michel will play Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in e minor, Op. 85 during the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opening concert.

The Everett Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Music Director Dr. Paul-Elliott Cobbs, is delighted to open its eighth concert season with a brilliant program featuring two popular English composers.

The concert – set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8 in the Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby Ave. – begins with William Walton’s Orb and Sceptre. That piece was written in 1953 for the coronation ceremony of 27-year-old Elizabeth II.

The music is bright and engaging with a middle section that is quieter and more dignified. The tone reflects the optimism the nation felt as it was about to crown an appealing young queen.

Our outstanding soloist, cellist John Michel, will play Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in e minor, Op. 85. While most concertos offer a chance for virtuosos to show off their skill, this lovely concerto is more intimate.

The composer, along with his nation, was in a melancholy mood at the end of World War I. For much of the piece, it seems as if the cello is talking directly to you, musing about the ups and downs of life. Though pyrotechnics are to be found in the hustle and bustle of the second movement, the overall feeling is one of reflection.

The Variations on an Original Theme 'Enigma', Op. 36, was the piece that established Edward Elgar’s reputation as the leading composer of Edwardian England. It is a set of 14 variations, each representing the personality of a friend or acquaintance.

At first, their identities were kept secret, but eventually the composer provided us an exact list. They include, among others, Elgar’s wife – gentle but with real depth of feeling – a skilled pianist practicing, a hiker stuck in a thunderstorm, a gracious spinster with an adorable laugh, a charming girl with a slight stutter and a bulldog that jumps into the river only to emerge with a ferocious bark.

Right at the center is the beautiful “Nimrod” variation, honoring a close friend who encouraged the composer at a moment of despair. The ending gives us Elgar’s view of himself, in his full-blown “Pomp and Circumstance” style. The delightful variety of this showpiece makes it a real crowd-pleaser.

At 2 p.m., before the performance, Dr. Cobbs invites the audience to attend his informal and informative Stage Side Chat, in which he shares insights and anecdotes connected with the afternoon’s composers and works.

Tickets for the entire 2017-18 season will be on sale in the lobby at intermission. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Otherwise, tickets are $25 each; $20 for seniors and active military; $10 for youth and students with ID; and free for children 12 and younger with an adult.

Tickets are available online at www.everettphil.org, through Brown Paper Tickets (with a small charge), or by phone at 206-270-9729. Doors open at 1:45 p.m., so come early as seating is festival-style.

More information: call 206-270-9729 or email info@everettphil.org.

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