FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Beutler (405) 232-7575
Sept. 12, 2023
Oklahoma City—As summer wanes, folks will be trading their swimsuits, shorts and sandals for sweaters, jackets and boots, with thoughts turning to cooler weather. Soon, everything will be pumpkin-spiced, falling leaves and shorter days. Getting into the autumn spirit, Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents two fall-themed concerts in the Inasmuch Classics Series.
“Gothic Midnight” is an early Halloween treat on Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. at Civic Center Music Hall, featuring music from Bach, Liszt and Berlioz. Guest artist is acclaimed Ukrainian pianist Dmytro Choni, and guests are invited to dress in their best elegant gothic attire.
“I’m fascinated by two very different things—Halloween and the French composer Hector Berlioz,” said Maestro Alexander Mickelthwate, OKCPHIL Music Director. “In this program, I’m putting them together. Although Halloween will be at the end of October, we will celebrate a bit early.”
“Gothic Midnight” features masterworks with otherworldly associations, Mickelthwate said.
“The roots of Halloween stem from the early Middle Ages,” he said. “On All Hallows Eve, Christians placed flowers on the graves of their loved ones. In the Gaelic culture, the end of October marked the end of harvest. Spirits and fairies were supposed to be more active, and many different traditions developed—all the way to our time of witches, skeletons, and ghouls.”
Composer Hector Berlioz was born in 1803, just after the French Revolution, and his “Symphony fantastique” will be a large portion of the “Gothic Midnight” concert.
“Berlioz is the first completely independent composer, who’s creativity had nothing to do with his faith in God, the church, financial dependence on dukes or duchesses, or a sense of symmetry and beauty of the ancient Greeks,” Mickelthwate said. “Instead, the topic of his most famous work, the Symphony fantastique, are his love escapades and opium trips, ending with the famous ‘Witches Sabbath.’”
Then, on Nov. 11, three-time Grammy Award-winning fiddle player and composer Mark O’Conner and wife Maggie headline “Folk Roots.”
“Mark combines bluegrass, country, jazz, and classical,” Mickelthwate said. “I worked with him in Winnipeg several years ago and was so blown away that I thought it’s time to have him here in Oklahoma. Recently, I met country recording artist Pam Tillis, who told me Mark played on her first album many years ago,and is considered a genius among studio musicians.”
The first half of “Folk Roots” focuses on musical roots in the Americas, featuring music from Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz and O’Conner. The second half features Hungarian composer Bela Bartok.
“It’s fascinating to discover the musical roots of composers,” Mickelthwate added. “What are the musical roots? Why would a certain piece of music only have been written by a certain composer at a specific time in history? I think audiences will love what they hear.”
Tickets for both concerts are on sale at okcphil.org or by phone at (405) 842-5387.