Quad City Symphony to present poetry/literature-inspired program, from Abels to Tchaikovsky

Posted on: November 3, 2021

“Every Quad City Symphony Orchestra concert is special, but the next Masterworks is extra meaningful for conductor Mark Russell Smith,” writes Jonathan Turner in Tuesday’s (11/2) WHBF-TV (Rock Island, IL). “The program is four pieces inspired by poetry and literature—beginning with [the] prelude to Humperdinck’s opera ‘Hänsel und Gretel.’ Explore lessons about human nature through Michael Abels’ lush musical illustration of ‘Frederick’s Fables’ by Leo Lionni, narrated by Quad-City poet and author Shellie Moore Guy. Triumph over darkness through William Grant Still’s melodic and aspirational ‘Poem for Orchestra,’ before joining in love’s struggle to conquer all in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s rapturous ‘Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture.’ … ‘It’s four shorter pieces, and each of them literally has its own story and inspiration,’ Smith said…. In the mid-1990s, Abels took four of Leo Lionni’s picture books and composed music to be played while they were read aloud… Each of the four vignettes can be performed alone or in combination…. This season, the orchestra also is partnering with six local artists to create limited edition designs inspired by Masterworks performances. For this month [Moline-based] artist Jon Burns created a lighthearted homage to the fabled king of the back row, the tuba.”