Whimsy & Wonderment

The Schlesinger Center

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In a Nutshell

The orchestra pays tribute to Danny Elfman in a program of film scores and masterpieces that influenced his style

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Nov 7, 2015. Limit 4/person. Redeem on 11/7 for a ticket at venue box office. Refundable only on day of purchase. Must purchase together to sit together. Discount reflects merchant's current ticket prices, which may change. ADA seating cannot be guaranteed. Contact box office prior to purchase for availability. Ticket value includes all fees. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

The Deal

  • $20 for one ticket for side-orchestra or rear-balcony seating (up to $44 value)
  • Click here to view the seating chart
  • An educational pre-concert talk with Stephen Ackert will take place an hour before the performance
  • Student tickets are regularly $10, and youth ages 18 and younger get in for $5.

The Program

“Whimsy” is a word often used to describe Danny Elfman’s canon of film and TV scores, especially the chimerical soundtrack to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and the unforgettable theme to The Simpsons. “Wonderment” also applies to his oeuvre—it’s the feeling that arises when Edward Scissorhands creates a snowstorm or Spider-Man swings from his web for the first time. In the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s latest musical exploration, Elfman’s scores come to life alongside a selection of masterpieces that inspired him. In the words of maestro Kim Allen Kluge, “If you listen closely to these composers, you can hear that they all delight in creating simple melodies and then slightly distorting them to create the desired effect of parody, sarcasm, and the macabre.”

  • Stravinsky—The Soldier’s Tale: This playful libretto for a septet of violin, double bass, coronet, bassoon, trombone, and percussion spins a Faustian story of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil (spoiler: he doesn’t get the fiddle back). The piece also finds Stravinsky toying with time signatures, tango rhythms, marches, and a waltz.
  • Danny Elfman—Music from Spider Man and Edward Scissorhands: Elfman’s score to the superhero blockbuster captures the kinetic energy of director Sam Raimi while putting a little swing in the web-swinging action. For Edward Scissorhands, which Tim Burton and Elfman both consider their most personal work, Elfman’s work drew upon the absurdity of the suburbs, the magic of winter, and the isolation of being an outcast.
  • Prokofiev—Lieutenant Kijé Wedding and Troika: The wedding movement of Prokofiev’s score for the 1934 Soviet film Lieutenant Kijé finds whimsy in a scenario of phony nuptials. On the other hand, the boisterous Troika motif (which was also used to score Woody Allen’s Love and Death) summons a more peaceful image of horses pulling a sleigh.
  • Mussorgsky—Night on Bald Mountain: A tone poem representing a witches’ sabbath on St. John’s Eve, Night on Bald Mountain is best known for its hair-raising opening, where slowly climbing strings and woodwinds get swallowed whole by horns. Like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the composition is also famous for its use in the most frightening segment of Disney’s Fantasia.

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

When Kim Allen Kluge took over as music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 1987, the outfit was made up of a small but enthusiastic group of community musicians. Sensing the potential of the orchestra, Kluge augmented the ensemble with freelancer virtuosos, quickly establishing the ASO as the premier professional symphony in northern Virginia. Today, the collective performs in the elegant Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Northern Virginia Community College campus, which makes for an acoustically friendly venue and a convenient base of operations for pranks on the Dean.


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