Monday, November 25, 2013

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Las Vegas Philharmonic performs "George Walker’s 'Lyric for Strings,' a lush and lovely showpiece for string orchestra."

Las Vegas Review-Journal
(Courtesy Las Vegas Philharmonic)

George Walker (b. 1922) is featured at,
and has a website at

Las Vegas Review-Journal

By Alan Adams

Philharmonic pays tribute to patriotism, JFK

Saturday’s Las Vegas Philharmonic program shared a theme, “Love of Country,” but spanned three centuries in the process. Two Beethoven works were composed in the early 1800s, a little-known piece by American composer George Walker dates from 1946, and Peter Lieberson’s “Remembering JFK” had its premiere in 2011.
In keeping with the observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the concert was preceded by a presentation of the colors by an honor guard from Nellis Air Force Base and soprano Ellie Smith singing our national anthem.” The anthem featured a new and special arrangement and orchestration that were fresh and effective.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture” began the program. By the time the overture was finished the play for which it was intended had ended its run in Vienna. It is likely the play and its overture were heard together only once. The spirit of the brief (seven minute) work begins with triumph but leads to indecision and turmoil, ending in a sense of self-destruction.
Then came, in stark contrast, George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings,” a lush and lovely showpiece for string orchestra. In introducing the work, guest conductor George Hanson characterized it as being “…the most beautiful work you’ve never heard.” He’s right. “Lyric for Strings” should have found its way into the mainstream repertoire by now.

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