Thursday, March 24, 2016
Keith Lay bridges Wagner and Ravel at Orlando Philharmonic's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'
By Jessica Bryce Young
on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 5:55 AM
8 p.m. Saturday, March 26 | Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston St. | 407-770-0071 | orlandophil.org
The final show of the Orlando Philharmonic’s 2015-2016 Classics series is a barn-burner, from Wagner’s swooping Overture to Tannhäuser to Ravel’s plucky, sinuous Alborada del gracioso to the eponym composition, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Pictures is one of those stirring pieces of classical repertoire that gets lots of play in TV commercials and movies – in recent years it’s popped up everywhere from Terrence Malick’s somber Tree of Life to The Simpsons – and it’s a crowd-pleaser, the kind of piece that gives almost every chair in the orchestra a chance to show off. But the real reason you won’t want to miss this concert is the debut of a new work by local composer Keith Lay, Venus and Vulcan in America, commissioned by the Orlando Phil. Lay says of his newest piece, “With this symphony, I playfully update the myth of Venus and her brilliant inventor husband, Vulcan, with a new ending: one in which Vulcan wins his wife’s heart. It is a mythical ‘revenge of the nerds’ edition that suits our time, where intellect is mightier than the sword. By mixing fragments of Wagner with my own language and inspiration from Ravel’s orchestration, I have sought to create a showpiece for the OPO that exploits its virtuosity.” Based on what we’ve heard from Lay in the past, there’s no doubt Venus and Vulcan will fulfill all expectations.