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WSO pairs Shakespeare-inspired music with the Bard’s words |

WSO pairs Shakespeare-inspired music with the Bard’s words

Bob Karlovits
| Tuesday, February 16, 2016 9:00 p.m
Phil Wilson | For Tribune-Review
Tony Marino, artistic director of Stage Right

Some of William Shakespeare’s words will be part of a musical lexicon put together by the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra.

Daniel Meyer, artistic director of the orchestra, says it will be “looking at the creative process in reverse” Feb. 20 when it presents its “Shakespeare in Love” concert at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg.

“Naturally, (the concert) works very well with Valentine’s Day, but it also is a nice, rounded view at how Shakespeare works with music,” he says.

In some ways, the concert will be like “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits,” says Tony Marino, artistic director of Stage Right, the Greensburg theater company that will be part of the program.

The concert will present four musical interpretations of famous Shakespeare writings, ranging from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” written in 1842, to David Diamond’s “Music for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” from 1947.

Continuing the variety, the concert also includes Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” (1869) and two pieces from William Walton’s “Henry V” (1944).

In all but the Tchaikovsky piece, members of Greensburg’s Stage Right theater company will offer readings from the Bard’s works, including three of the most famous speeches from “Romeo and Juliet.”

The Tchaikovsky work is so “through-composed,” Meyer explains, it would be hard to stop it to fit in dialogue, while the other pieces have natural breaks in them.

By adding the words, Meyer says, the program takes a look at what inspired the composers.

“It is a way to be re-creative about the works,” he says.

Meyer did a similar program with the North Carolina State Company, a theater group in Asheville, where he also conducts a symphony orchestra.

It is a little new for Marino, who says he was thrilled at the idea of using Shakespeare in such a setting. It is only appropriate, he says, because the playwright has inspired many composers in many ways.

Four students — Carolyn Jerz, Sidney Kantor, Matthew Hommel and Anthony Marino Jr. — are taking part in the program. They will be joined by Dennis Jerz , an adult member of the group.

Marino says using the words with the music adds an element to the drama that makes it a little different from when it was written.

“I think of it a little cinematically,” he says. “You know, you say something dramatic and then there is a great crash of music behind you.”

Bob Karlovits is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: Music
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