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March 4, 2014 > Music at the Mission returns with The Bargain

Music at the Mission returns with The Bargain

Submitted By Aileen Chanco

Music at the Mission returns on March 15 with the second of its three concert series presented at the Old Mission San Jose church in Fremont. ÒThe BargainÓ features a colorful and provocative program of music with narration, bringing together tales from the dramatic, to the comical, to the absurd.

Featured on the program will be Michael DaughertyÕs ÒDead ElvisÓ a work inspired by the King of Rock nÕRoll, Elvis Presley, performed by Texas-based bassoonist, Ben Kamins, former Principal Bassoon of Houston Symphony, Associate Principal of Minnesota Orchestra and currently on the faculty at Rice University.

ÒDead Elvis (1993) was commissioned by Boston Musica Viva and Chuck Ullery, principal bassoonist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. It is more than a coincidence that it is scored for the same instrumentation as StravinskyÕs Histoire du Soldat (1918) in which a soldier sells his violin and his soul to the devil for a magic book. In Dead Elvis, the bassoon is Elvis (or perhaps an Elvis impersonator). Does this rock star sell out his Southern folk authenticity to the sophisticated professionalism of Hollywood movies, Colonel Parker and Las Vegas in order to attain great wealth and fame?

ÒDead Elvis goes far beyond this romantic Faustian scenario. For me, the two clashing Elvis images (the hip, beautiful, genius, thin, rock-and-roll Elvis versus the vulgar, cheesy, fat, stoned, Las Vegas Elvis) serve as a sturm und drang compositional algorithm. Further, my use of the dies irae (a medieval Latin chant for the Day of Judgment) as the principal musical theme of ÒDead ElvisÓ signifies yet another aspect of the Elvis myth: some people believe Elvis is dead, while others believe he is alive and well in Kalamazoo.

ÒPerhaps the question is not whether Elvis is alive or dead, but why the phenomenon of Elvis endures beyond the grave of Graceland. Elvis, for better or worse, is part of American culture, history and mythology. If you want to understand America and all its riddles, sooner or later you will have to deal with (Dead) Elvis.Ó

-Michael Daugherty, Composer

Also featured on the program will be Igor StravinskyÕs iconic, ÒLÕHistoire du SoldatÓ (A SoldierÕs Tale), written during World War I. Stravinsky tells a Faustian story of a soldier who barters his violin and his soul for untold wealth.

Music at the Mission is also continuing its support of the music of today with a premier by Music at the MissionÕs Composer-in-Residence, Mark Fish whose piece is entitled ÒSister for SaleÓ based on Shell SilversteinÕs charming childrenÕs poem, ÒOne Sister for Sale,Ó about a little boy who wants to sell his troublesome pest of a sister.

Bassist Bill Everett, Music at the MissionÕs Artistic Co-Director and Principal Bass of Symphony Silicon Valley, will be performing Jon DeakÕs ÒBB WolfÓ which demands that the performer both play the instrument as well as speak, in a sort of confession and explanation from the Big Bad Wolf. ÒYouÕre always trying to tell a story with music, but to narrate the story with words and accompany with music at the same time is challengingÓ, says Everett. ÒDeak is a unique composer. In addition to his work in music, he has an extensive background in drama. ÒItÕs a fun work for me, and I hope itÕs even more fun for the audience.Ó

Also local chamber musicians within the Bay Area will be featured on this program including members of Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose and the California Symphony. Narration will be provided by voice over artist Nick Terry and Stewart Slater, former Executive Producer of American Musical Theater. ÒItÕs always a wonderful thing for our audiences and our artists to experience a program that weaves in music and storytelling by such compelling composers.Ó says Music at the MissionÕs Director, Aileen Chanco.

Music at the Mission Concert ÒThe BargainÓ
Saturday, Mar 15

Pre-concert Lecture
7:15 p.m.
Mission Coffee
151 Washington Blvd., Fremont (Across from Old Mission)

Concert 8 p.m. (Doors open 6:45 p.m.)
Old Mission San Jose Church
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont

Door tickets: $30/General admission; $25 for Students and Seniors
In Advance online tickets: $28/General and $23 Students/Seniors
(510) 402-1724

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