Spies, tricksters, and forgotten heroes inspired the composers on this story-filled program. Join your Aurora Symphony for the 2024 “Arts for a Better Tomorrow” concert: “Dancing in the Shadows,” featuring music about (and by) forgotten heroes, imaginary tricksters, and intriguing spies.
J. Strauss Jr., Die Fledermaus (The Bat) Overture
Amanda Aldridge, Lazy Dance
Kenji Bunch, Supermaximum
Prokofiev, Lieutenant Kijé Suite
007 Through the Years, arr. Bulla
“Dancing in the Shadows” opens with music from Johann Strauss’s The Bat, an opera about betrayal, intrigue, and drinking at parties while dressed as a flying mouse. You may know it from a classic episode of Tom and Jerry or Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Johann Strauss was known as the Waltz King, and his music is upbeat and full of catchy characters and melodies.
Kenji Bunch’s Supermaximum pays homage to the generations of Americans held back by slavery and Jim Crow laws in the U.S. It was inspired by “chain gang” songs from prison camps in the south, who turned to music to hold onto their humanity. The composer says in his introduction to the piece that “the music is…transformed over the course of the work to suggest a transcending above the conditions of this harsh reality to an elevated, spiritual state of grace.”
Like the subjects of Supermaximum, the composer Amanda Aldridge and her family faced hardship for the color of their skin. Her father, the only prominent black Shakespearean actor in the U.S., fled to England to protect his family. Amanda spent her career as an opera singer and teacher, writing light works for parties and publishing them under the male pseudonym “Montague Ring.” Her Lazy Dance was inspired by Johann Strauss’s music and is a short, delightfully tuneful work.
The Lieutenant Kijé Suite, is taken from an early film score by the Ukrainian composer Sergei Prokofiev. It tells the story of an imaginary Russian Lieutenant, invented accidentally by a government employee’s bad penmanship. Through an increasingly comic series of bureaucrats using Kijé to cover up their mistakes, the imaginary character goes on to be officially deported to Siberia for waking up the Tsar, pardoned, married to a princess, promoted to the rank of General, granted land, and finally given a lavish state funeral.
The concert ends with music from everybody’s favorite spy series. 007: Through the Years features highlights from the greatest James Bond scores and songs, including “Goldfinger,” “Nobody Does it Better,” “Skyfall,” and “Live and Let Die.”
Spies, Intrigue, and trickery abound! Join your Aurora Symphony for “Dancing in the Shadows,” a concert of catchy music about characters that just can’t be caught!