Sunday, September 28, 2008

Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Opens Concert With James P. Johnson's 'Victory Stride'

[Victory Stride: The Symphonic Music of James P. Johnson; The Concordia Orchestra; Marin Alsop, Conductor; Music Masters 67140 (1994)]
SSO Launches Classics Series Friday 
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Daniel Hege
SSO Music Director
The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra begins its Post-Standard Classics Series 2008-09 season this weekend with two of our own musicians, Associate Concertmaster and Liverpool native Jeremy Mastrangelo and Principal Cello David LeDoux, headlining as guest artists. We are proud to have musicians of such high caliber in our midst, and look forward to showcasing their musical gifts in a composition that has become recognized as a warm, yet profound work of genius by Brahms.

James P. Johnson's energetic and uniquely American "Victory Stride" opens the concert. Composer of the popular "Charleston" of 1920s fame, Johnson is also known as the father of stride piano, also called "Harlem stride" or "New York ragtime," the athletic solo style that paved the way from ragtime to true jazz. This musical style gets its name from the way the left hand "strides" back and forth between low bass notes on the strong beats of each measure and chords higher up on the in-between beats. In this work, the music dances back and forth among the various sections of the orchestra, with a climax that uses the full ensemble. This is an electrifying work to open not only this concert, but the entire Classics series. [Full Post] [James Price Johnson (1894-1955) is profiled at]

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