Where musical compositions are often savored for their color and variety, the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale consistently oblige their audiences.
Saturday's lineup at Strathmore features Ravel's classic piece "Bolero," Rimsky-Korsakov's dramatic symphonic suite "Scheherazade" and Poulenc's celebrated and beautiful "Gloria," scored for soprano, large orchestra and chorus.
"These [works] draw on orchestral color, and what we mean by that is the various uses of instruments in a way that the listener really experiences their solo qualities," said National Philharmonic's Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski.
In choral circles, "Gloria" is a frequently performed composition, written for -- and premiered by -- the Boston Symphony in 1961 to such great success that it has become a mainstay in the choral repertoire.
|National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale|
|Where: Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda|
|When: 8 p.m. Saturday; preconcert lecture 6:45 p.m.|
|Info: $28 to $81, children 7 to 17 free; 301-581-5100; strathmore.org|
"One of the things Poulenc does really well [is] these wonderful harmonies; sometimes they are clashing, and sometimes they are very beautifully romantic," Gajewski continued. "The soprano is a soloist that appears with us frequently. Right now, she is at the Met, but we are quite fortunate that they released her for this performance."
Soprano Danielle Talamantes, in addition to her appearances at the Met, is one of the District's most sought-after soloists. Her operatic roles include Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata," while recent engagements include concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony and the Oratorio Society of Virginia. She last worked with the National Philharmonic Chorale in its December 2012 performance of Handel's "Messiah."
"When you talk about color, it doesn't get any more forward than Ravel's 'Bolero,' " Gajewski added. "Basically, it's the same tune repeated over and over and over again, with different instruments playing the melody."
In fact, the piece is just as remarkable for a thrilling build toward its conclusion as it is for an almost hypnotic quality. The same can be said for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's most famous work, "Scheherazade," based on the tales of "The Arabian Nights." Here, dazzling orchestration gives way to an unforgettable violin solo.