This summer, take a break from Thursday at the Square once in a while to venture into the beautiful realm of classical music. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform its fourth consecutive series this summer at Artpark in Lewiston under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. Here are a few of the pieces they will perform:
* Holst's, "The Planets"/8 p.m. Saturday
Seen a Reese's commercial lately? The music in the background is from "The Planets." According to the BBC Web site, it was written by English composer Gustav Holst around 1915. Throughout the 50-minute piece, the mood swings from violent and deafening during Mars, to beautiful and quiet in Venus, to triumphant and joyous in Jupiter. Interestingly, Holst wrote his masterpiece before Pluto was discovered, so in 2000, Manchester's Halle Orchestra commissioned Colin Matthews to compose the final component. Now that Pluto is no longer a planet, there is no need for it. If this doesn't convince you to go see it performed, consider that John Williams borrowed heavily from Holst while writing the music for Star Wars.
* Gershwin's Greatest Hits/3 p.m. Sunday
For the jazz lovers out there, pianist Kevin Cole "stands as the best Gershwin pianist America today," according to Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. As described on the Artpark Summerfest Web site, the program includes some of Gershwin's most beloved hits like "Strike up the Band," "Embraceable You," "S' Wonderful" and the "Concerto in F."
* Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy)/3 p.m. July 15
This is a tune almost everyone knows. According to Slate magazine, Beethoven premiered this work in 1824, when he was deaf. The orchestra had stopped playing and he was still conducting.
* Dvorak's New World Symphony/3 p.m. July 29
As described on www.classicalnotes.net, Anton Dvorak was interested in African spiritual songs and American native music. This is evident in his ninth symphony ("From the New World"). When some believed Dvorak was inspired by nostalgia for his native Bohemia, other objected, citing the flattened sevenths and syncopated rhythms of the symphony that display close ties to American folk music. Listen for melodies that bear a resemblance to "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Three Blind Mice."
Other anticipated performances include opera arias, Argentine tango music and music accompanying ballet dancers. Tickets are available through the Artpark Web site, www.artpark.net, or you may call 1-(888) 223-6000 (Tickets.com) or the Artpark box office, 754-4375.
Allison Eck will be a senior at Clarence High School.