The Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) presents Music from Fantasia on Saturday, February 11, at 8 p.m., at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The evening will feature works from both the acclaimed 1940 film and its sequel, released in 2000.
“For me, a live concert is a chance to discover something new in music or re-discover something we may only know from recordings, films, television or radio,” says conductor and ASO music director Daniel Meyer. “My intention with this concert is to offer us all a chance to experience these amazing scores from a fresh, live perspective.”
The evening will open with Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, as re-orchestrated after Mussorgsky’s death by his contemporary and friend Nikolay Rimsky- Korsakov. The work, which was accompanied in Fantasia by imagery of a demonic figure, depicts the legendary witches’ Sabbath held on Mount Triglav in Russia every year on St. John’s Night.
Next, the tone takes a light turn with Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring guest pianist Inon Barnatan, who was named by the New York Times as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation.” Barnatan was a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 2015, as well as the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009, and was named the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic in 2014. His performance in this interplay between orchestra and piano will be a highlight of the evening. Disney artists chose excerpts from this piece for the segment of Fantasia 2000 depicting Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”
Third on the night’s program is Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” ballet from his hit opera La Gioconda. “Dance of the Hours” became a pop culture sensation when Disney illustrated it with a ballet sequence featuring dancing animals in the first Fantasia film. It also reached the pop charts in 1963 when parodist Alan Sherman set words to it in the Grammy Award-winning song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.”
The finale for the evening is Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird, which debuted in 1910 and remains his most frequently performed work. The Ballets Russes commissioned Stravinsky to compose The Firebird based on a scenario drawn from Russian folklore and the result is a high-definition piece showcasing the composer’s ability to conjure imagery and convey a dramatic tale to audiences.
ASO’s Music from Fantasia is perfect both for fans of the Disney films and for those who simply love great music. “As familiar as some of the pieces may be, and as iconic as some of the visuals are that Disney’s animators imagined,” says Meyer, “at the very core are a collection of musical works filled with creativity, color and passion that you simply have to hear live to appreciate fully.”
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is located at 87 Haywood Street, Asheville. Tickets are $22–$62 depending on seating section. Reduced student pricing is available. For tickets or information, call 828.254.7046 or visit ashevillesymphony.org.