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For the Summer Chamber Music Festival, Brightmusic goes Hollywood

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Staff Report

Ever wonder what film composers are up to when they aren’t writing scores for blockbusters like Star Wars?  Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble will explore the contribution of composers who have blurred the lines between classical music and motion pictures.  Oklahoma City’s premier chamber ensemble will present “Brightmusic Goes Hollywood: The Chamber Music of Film Composers” in its seventh annual Summer Chamber Music Festival at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City. The concert series runs from June 14 to June 19.

Many of the composers are well known to the classical music set.  Some are icons of American cinema, and one is practically an institution.

The four-concert festival will present works by Malcolm Arnold, Ennio Morricone, Sergei Prokofiev, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Nino Rota, Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dmitri Shostakovich, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Leonard Bernstein and Miklós Rózsa.

All concerts will begin at 7:30 pm — except the 4 p.m. Sunday concert on June 17 — at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 127 NW 7th Street (at Robinson).  Save $30 by purchasing a $50 festival pass that includes admission to all four concerts.  Season subscribers, students and active-duty military personnel are admitted free with ID.

Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble always presents fine classical music in an intimate, family-friendly setting.

The joys of attendance at these evenings of stellar music cannot be fully predicted in advance. A memorable time came five years ago, after the devastating spring storms in Moore, south of Oklahoma City. On that night, Brightmusic musicians dedicated their performance to the victims. In that context, Brightmusic organizer David R. Johnson shared a poem he had found with board member Debra Konieczny, who was passing out program notes before the first post-tornado concert.
Johnson, a leader for Brightmusic, was not sure he could read the words without losing his composure. Mrs. Konieczny examined the verses, then said, “David, this poem must be read tonight.

It is essential to the program and to the healing that we all need. You must read this.”
Johnson told The City Sentinel, “Well, I decided, don’t argue with the Bishop’s wife. But I don’t think I could do it again.” The poem follows:

“For the common things of every day,

God gave men speech in the common way;

“For the deeper things men think and feel,

God gave the poets words to reveal;

“For the heights and depths no words can reach,

God gave men music, the soul’s own speech.”

The poem is often attributed to Charles Wesley, the great Methodist writer and composer, but that is not universally accepted. Regardless, these verses in simple rhyme captured a spirit that emanated from that  year’s festival, and hopes for a future that includes brighter days full of music, “the soul’s own speech.”

Musicians appearing during this 2018 Festival include stalwart and steady musicians, such as Gregory Lee, Marat Gabdullin (violin), Samuel Formicola (violin and viola), Jarita Ng (viola), Meredith Blecha-Wells and Jesús Castro-Balbi (cello), John Krause (double bass), Parthena Owens (flute), Lisa Harvey-Reed (oboe),  Chad Burrow (clarinet), Amy I-Lin Cheng and Ruirui Ouyang (piano).

Brightmusic’s wonderful sponsors include the Ad Astra Foundation, Richard L. Sias, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Meinders Foundation and Gene Rainbol

More information about the festival is available on the Brightmusic website.
Note: Editor Pat McGuigan contributed to this story, adapting comments made in past reviews.

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