Saturday, Sept 29th, the Jackson Symphony begins their 69th season at the Potter Center. WKAR’s Jamie Paisley has more on the concert from the J.S.O.’s music director, Dr. Matthew Aubin who could recently be seen making an on-screen cameo for the film "Bel Canto."
The entirety of the Jackson Symphony’s 5 main concerts of the season are dedicated to the centenary of Leonard Bernstein. Starting things off on Saturday night’s concert at the Potter Center, music director Dr. Matthew Aubin chose a major project of Lenny’s: Mahler’s Symphonies, namely, the 4th.
"You know, the reason I chose a Mahler Symphony," says Aubin "is that Bernstein was really well known for advocating for Mahler's works. They didn't really get a lot of attention and a lot of play until Bernstein came on the scene. and now any conductor worth their salt seems to record a Mahler cycle. The final reason I picked the 4th symphony is that our sponsor is Henry Ford Allegiance Health, and you know, Mahler in the sketch stages, there was a lot of talk about how this was a journey through life on earth, through death to the afterlife. And so I really think it's appropriate when we have this hospital celebrating their anniversary and we're talking about the celebration of life."
That centenary of Henry Ford Allegiance Health also inspired a world premiere for Saturday’s concert courtesy of the Jackson Symphony’s resident composer, Jonathan Bruce Brown. It’s a piece called, appropriately enough for a hospital, Sound in Body, Mind and Spirit. Dr. Aubin says it’s a short fanfare with plenty of brass… "and there's a lot of bell sounds, brass bell sounds," explains Aubin, "which is kind of interesting because I didn't really do this on purpose, It kinda just all worked out, but every piece on the program really uses the sounds of bells in some way. And you know, Mahler famously with the sleigh-bells in the 4th symphony, and the Carnival Overture [by Antonin Dvorak] with it's cymbals and tambourines and triangles."
Joining the Dvorak Carnival Overture, Bruce Brown’s Fanfare, and the Mahler 4th on Saturday’s season opening Jackson Symphony concert is a passion project of Dr. Aubin: Music of Fernande Breihl-Decruck.
"For me, this is a real labor of love to take her music which I found several years ago sitting in manuscript form in boxed in her son's house and take it and have it performed again. This music was performed by the best orchestras and performers in France in the 1930's and 40's, and it really deserves a fair shake."
In addition to leading Saturday night’s JSO concert at the Potter Center, Dr. Aubin is also basking in the glow of being a film star. "Well, I don't know if I'm a film star," adds Aubin, "but you can see me." In the suspense film Bel Canto, Julianne Moore plays an opera singer and at one point Dr. Aubin is seen leading an orchestra while Moore lipsynced to the voice of Renee Fleming for Dvorak’s Song to the Moon. "A little bit of indie baseball is that the actress Julianne Moore studied with Renee Fleming's vocal coach. So she was actually singing while we were filming. Now, she didn't sing like Renee Fleming, but she sang so that her body would vibrate and, you know, she would look authentic, and I think it's a real testament to her professionalism to go above and beyond to really try to train like an opera singer."
Jonathan Bruce Brown: Sound in Body, Mind and Spirit (World Premiere)
Fernande Breilh-Decruck: Les clochers de Vienne : Suite de Valses (American Premiere)
Antonín Dvořák: Carnival Overture, op.92, B.169
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4, G major (feat. Kisma Jordan, soprano)