The Lyric Symphony for Orchestra received the first prize in the 1983 Lancaster Summer Arts Festival Orchestral Competition. The world premiere performance during the 1983 Lancaster Summer Arts Festival by the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Stephen Gunzenhauser at Long’s Park Amphitheater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
This work is published by Seesaw/Subito Music of Verona, New Jersey.
Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Timpani, 2 Percussion, Strings.
Performed 7/4/83 by the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Lancaster, Pennsylvania with Stephen Gunzenhauser as conductor.
Performed 2/11/96 by the Virginia Beach Symphony, Virginia Beach, Virginia, with David Kunkel as conductor.
Performed 4/30/98 by the Richmond Symphony, Richmond, Virginia, with George Manahan as conductor.
The Richmond Boys Choir is a real asset to this community and deserves the praise it has received locally and nationally. J.S. Bach’s inspiring “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” was sung with real feeling, excellent blend and understandable diction. Manahan directed chorus and orchestra, demonstrrating again what a good accompanying ensemble he leads. Billy Dye, the choir’s regular conductor, took the boys through “Poor Man Lazarus,” which was nicely syncopated and sung with true spiritual feeling.
Adding to the evening’s variety were two excerpts from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” Manahan’s vast experience with opera was revealed as the combined In Harmony Chorus, the boys chorus and the symphony performed the busy street scene. Sung in what sounded like idiomatic French, voices and orchestra blended to give a lively and colorful performance of this famous segment of the opera.
Possibly the most famous aria from “Carmen” is the “Toreador Song,” sung by Escamillo with a brief assist from Carmen. James Laws was somewhat convincing convincing as the toreador, but he could have used a bit more swagger in his interpretation. He has a pleasing voice and good French diction, and he understands what he’s singing. The fact that he’s a gentleman does show, however. Lara Longsworth’s brief interlude as Carmen displayed a solid mezzo-soprano voice but was given too little to sing to judge her performance. The chorus returned to sing Roland Carter’s “You Must Have That True Religion,” featuring young Brian Peace as soloist. Peace’s very high soprano soared above orchestra and chorus, creating a lovely spiritual atmosphere. He was deservedly applauded by his listeners.
Barbara Green was soloist with the full choral and orchestral forces in “I Love the Lord He Heard Me Cry.” She has that real gospel feel that, combined with the voices and instruments at hand, made for a thrilling climax to a evemning of truly inspired music-making.