Die Walküre – The Ride of the Valkyries Rossini
Il barbiere di Siviglia – Overture Chris Brubeck
Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra – James Brown in the Twilight Zone Bach
The Art of the Fugue, BWV1080 – Fugue in D Minor Debussy
Suite bergamasque – Clair de lune Mozart
Die Zauberflöte, K620 – Overture Rimsky-Korsakov
The Tale of Tsar Saltan – Flight of the Bumblebee John Williams
Star Wars – Main title Stevie Wonder
Sir Duke Freddie Mercury
Bohemian Rhapsody Joni Mitchell
Both Sides, Now Jemma Griffiths
Flying High Carole King
I Feel the Earth Move
A Beatles Medley [She Loves You – Here Comes the Sun – Hard Day’s Night – Can’t Buy Me Love]
arr. John Hollenbeck
Celebration: A 70s Sing-Along – Celebrate, Margaritaville, Escape, Feelings, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, American Pie
The Stars and Stripes Forever
Douglas Yeo (bass trombone)
Swingle Singers [Joanna Goldsmith-Eleson & Sara Brimer (sopranos), Clare Wheeler & Lucy Bailey (altos), Oliver Griffiths & Christopher Jay (tenors), Kevin Fox (baritone & vocal percussion), Tobias Hug (bass & vocal percussion)]
Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra – The American Songbook
Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Boston Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewed by Susan Stempleski
It may seem odd to open a concert entitled “The American Songbook” and advertised as a celebration of popular music of the Baby Boomer generation with a work by a 19th-century German opera composer, but after leading the Boston Pops Orchestra in a rollicking performance of 'The Ride of the Valkyries' and asking for a show of hands by audience members born between 1946 and 1964, Keith Lockhart reminded that the music they had just heard was the same that accompanied a Valkyrie-helmeted Elmer Fudd as he chased Bugs Bunny in What’s Opera, Doc? – Kill the Wabbit! – a 1957 cartoon many Baby Boomers grew up with. That operatic link explained, Lockhart launched the Pops players into another classical piece used in a Bugs Bunny cartoon: Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, which featured in Rabbit of Seville (1950).
Next Lockhart introduced Douglas Yeo, bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, who delivered a wonderful and lively rendition of 'James Brown in the Twilight Zone', a movement from Chris Brubeck’s jazz-flavored Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra. Yeo’s virtuosic performance electrified the audience. Brubeck was in the audience.
Before calling the Swingle Singers, Lockhart explained that the group, formed in the early 1960s still had eight singers, but that over the years members have come and gone and that the current incarnation represents a totally new generation and began their performance with a Bach Fugue, the piece that served as the first track on the founding group’s first album, Jazz Sébastian Bach. Equally charming performances of jazzed-up classics followed: Debussy’s Clair de lune, Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute, and a hilariously animated version of The Flight of the Bumble Bee.
The orchestra returned to deliver its big-band renditions of samples from film and rock icons of the 1970s, including Star Wars, Sir Duke and Bohemian Rhapsody, the last number was especially well-performed, and formed a link to the next section of the eclectic programme: the Swingle Singers returned to the stage and, now turning from classics to pop, offered a delightfully jazz-flavored tribute to singer-songwriters, including Joni Mitchell, Jemma Griffiths (better known as “Jem”), Carole King and the Beatles. The Swingle Singers’ arrangements of the Beatles numbers, notably “Hard Day’s Night”, won especially loud applause and appreciation.
Following a second intermission the audience participated enthusiastically in Celebration: A 70s Sing-Along, featuring some of the most popular songs of the era. The evening ended on a patriotic note, as Pops concerts have since the year 1900, with a buoyant performance of The Stars and Stripes Forever.