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Prokofiev’s timeless tale of a boy and his animal friends’ bravery is brought to life! Presented by a special guest narrator, watch and listen as the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra puts their talent on display in this classic musical fable along with other seasonal favorites.
Wattis Foundation Music Director
Fantasia on Greensleves
Peter and the Wolf
Pierpont (arr. Romero)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
SOME NOTES ON THE CONCERT. . .
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–93) is among our most durable composers, an artist who possessed an amazing well of melody and brilliant powers of orchestration. His style is subjective and emotional, often touched with melancholy. His ballet The Nutcracker, which has become a holiday favorite, was first seen (and heard) in December 1892. The story is an adaptation by the elder Alexandre Dumas of a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker and the King of Mice.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), one of England’s greatest composers, was the author of nine symphonies that stand as landmarks of twentieth-century music. But he also excelled at forms less grand than the symphony, and one of his fondest occupations was to preserve folk songs of the English countryside. Among these was the popular tune “Greensleeves.” His Fantasia on Greensleeves is adapted from his 1929 opera Sir John in Love, a quintessential English work, based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. Whether or not Vaughan Williams intended his Greensleeves Fantasia as holiday music, it has become established as a seasonal favorite.
Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953) was one of Russia’s greatest composers of the twentieth century. He began his career as a firebrand, writing spiky, in-your-face music. He spent many years in the West before succumbing to the lure of his homeland, and in 1929 he returned to live in the Soviet Union. The works he produced after taking up residence there generally have softer edges and more lyrical shapes than his earlier music, but his failure to embrace ideology in his work led to trouble with Communist Party operatives. Nonetheless, Prokofiev enjoyed immense esteem. He was the author of film music—for Sergei Eisenstein’s Lieutenant Kijé, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible—as well as the ballets Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella, seven symphonies, five piano concertos—the list goes on. Peter and the Wolf, a perennial favorite, is from 1936.