By Ted AYALA
Music lovers who could not get enough of Emo Philips’ outrageous narration of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” at last January’s Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra concert have a chance to get another helping of the comedian’s absurdist naughtiness this weekend.
Ringing in the first concert of 2014, the GPO has invited Philips back for a performance at the First Baptist Church (209 N. Louise St. in Glendale) on Sunday, Jan. 5. This time he will be providing the narration to Camille Saint-Saëns’ equally wacky work, Carnival of the Animals.
Composed in the late 1880s, the Carnival of the Animals was composed, according to Saint-Saëns, as a “bit of fun.” Its 14 movements comprise a set of playful and often raucous vignettes of various “animals” – among which are included “pianists.” The tongue-in-cheek nature of the work is packed with parodistic references to various composers, from Rameau, Berlioz, and Mendelssohn to Offenbach, and even Saint-Saëns himself. Though it was performed privately several times to great success (Franz Liszt was one of the work’s early admirers), the composer, afraid that the work would harm his image as a “serious” composer, suppressed it from public performance and publication during his lifetime. Only after his death in 1921 was the work revealed to the public. It has since become one of the composer’s most popular and best-loved works.
Also sharing the program with the Saint-Saëns is a newly composed cello concerto by Sharon Farber for the GPO’s charismatic music director Ruslan Biryukov.
The work of the Israeli-born composer has been heard widely, with a catalog spanning incidental music for television shows and films to concert music. Among her most notable recent concert works is “The Third Mother/Mother’s Lament,” a choral work composed in memory of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. The work was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2002.
Closing off the program is J. S. Bach’s “Concerto for Two Keyboard in C minor, BWV 1062” played by pianists Yana Resnik and Rufus Choi.
Refreshments will be provided for the audience after the concert.
Tickets prices range from $15 to $100 per person. To purchase tickets and to obtain more information, call (323) 663-3601, or go online www.glendalephilharmonic.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Alex Theatre and at the Americana Concierge (889 Americana Way).