Hallé Pops: Stars and Stripes
Join the Hallé on Saturday 23 February as we celebrate some of the all-time American classics. With songs from Gershwin, Bernstein and other U.S. greats, this promises to be a night filled with uplifting and toe-tapping hits.
These songs come from a time of great social and cultural change in America with many being written during the 1930s as a musical escape from the reality of the Great Depression. Music from this period shows a shift from a sense of hopelessness, in the melancholy lyrics and melodies of blues and folk, to more upbeat, danceable rhythms of jazz, big band and swing.
George Gershwin was one of the most successful and talented composers of the 20th century. He was at the height of his fame when he died tragically young in 1937. This concert features some of his best-loved songs.
Gershwin is known as the man who first brought jazz into the concert hall, and this began with the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin advertised this work as ‘an experiment in modern music’ but he faced a difficult challenge as he combined classical music with popular African-American music. For many of his peers this was too outrageous to contemplate. However, it was this newness and also the sense that it was risqué which led to it being hugely popular.
Several of Gershwin’s other pieces in the programme come from musical plays or films. Gershwin began to team up with his brother Ira in 1924 and by the time of his death they had grown to be the dominant Broadway songwriters. Their typically upbeat and infectious melodies make it easy to see why their pieces are still so popular today.
Alongside Gershwin, music from the likes of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein will also feature in this concert. There is another chance to hear Bernstein’s Overture to Wonderful Town following the Hallé’s hugely successful collaboration with The Lowry and the Royal Exchange theatre last year.
From marches to show tunes these pieces present a fission of classical music, blues and jazz. Nostalgic, patriotic, poignant and inspiring - come and join the Hallé in this tribute to the classical music of America.