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Classical Californians: Peter Boyer

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Dario Acosta

Our Classical Californian this time is LA-based composer and conductor Peter Boyer, who has chosen an all-American selection of music for his segment. We'll hear a pair of his works, as well as classics by Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, and George Gershwin. We'll also have a preview of a work Boyer has written specifically to be paired on the concert stage with Gershwin's (soon to be one hundred years old) Rhapsody in Blue, a piece he wrote for pianist Jeffrey Biegel called Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue.

He begins with a lesser known fanfare by John Williams, Sound the Bells!... Press play to hear his introduction!

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John Williams: Sound the Bells!

Then, it's music from Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, but not just the familiar suite, he chose movements from the full ballet in its original version for 13 instruments. The section he's describing happens at 24:50 in this video of the full ballet with choreographer Martha Graham dancing the lead, which was broadcast on television in the late 1950s.

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Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring (section described starts at 24:50)

Leonard Bernstein ended his Symphonic Dances from West Side Story with "Cool" Fugue, Rumble, and Finale...

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Leonard Bernstein: Final Three Movements of Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (at 13:54)

Now it's on to two of his own works... First, the popular Silver Fanfare...

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Peter Boyer: Silver Fanfare

And, from his Three Olympians, the movement called "Aphrodite"...

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Peter Boyer: "Aphrodite" from Three Olympians

Another work, that brings together two of the composers we've already heard from: a birthday greeting to Leonard Bernstein from John Williams, in the form of For New York, which is based on his song "New York, New York," (from On the Town), "America" from West Side Story, with a little bit of "Happy Birthday" thrown in too...

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John Williams: For New York (Variations on Themes of Leonard Bernstein)

And to wrap things up, the impetus for Peter Boyer's recent piano concerto project - here's his favorite recording of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, with André Previn leading and soloing with the London Symphony Orchestra.

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George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Published on 01.31.2024