WESTFIELD, NJ – Edgy music in a setting with lush acoustics reminiscent of Europe’s great cathedral spaces.
This is how New Jersey Festival Orchestra Conductor David Wroe characterized the concert set for the First United Methodist Church this Saturday, the orchestra’s season opening.
The program includes George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Fantasy, Max Bruch’s violin concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.
The show will feature Slovak-American Violinist Filip Pagody, under the direction of Wroe, who is looking forward to performing at the church in Westfield.
“I have long wished to perform at First United Methodist Church whose acoustics are ... well, heavenly,” Wroe said. “Resonant, lush and warm, they remind me of the great cathedral spaces in Europe.”
The church’s wooden walls offer a dynamic, Wroe said, is rarely found in other performing spaces as the sound at the First United Methodist Church bounces off the walls, blending and becoming revitalized.
Pagody, who holds a master’s of violin performance from the Manhattan School of Music, will be among the performers Saturday.
“He is a virtuoso, but this time lends his talents to the romantic, passionate and yearning Bruch Violin Concerto,” Wroe said. “He is a ‘New Generation’ violin virtuoso: good looking, sharply dressed, edgy interpretations.”
Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Fantasy, he noted, is a story about the African-American experience, and so takes off from the jazz genre.
“It is riddled with unique dance rhythms and syncopations, a magnificent gift of the African American experience in the USA,” Wroe said.
The choice of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Wroe said, draws from the composer’s best work, which Rachmaninov composed while living on Long Island.
“America at that time was a hotbed of innovation,” Wroe said. The time, he said, led to music that was “more edgy and driven than much of his previous input.”
If you go:
Tickets are $30, $58, and $76 dollars for the show to be held at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, at the First United Methodist Church, 1 East Broad St., Westfield. People under 18 get in for $15 with the purchase of an adult ticket. College students get in for $20 with a student ID. For tickets, visit http://www.njfestivalorchestra.org or call 908-232-9400.