The concert was an excellent mix of the music. “Sophie’s Choice,” a beautiful film score was in the program, along with “One Song,” with a message of peace and unity that ought to be on the personal playlists of every world leader today.” -
Daily Telegram Special Writer
ADRIAN, MI — Ask people if they can name any of Marvin Hamlisch’s music, and many of them could come up with “A Chorus Line” or “The Way We Were” or even “The Sting” — which he actually didn’t write, but rather adapted from Scott Joplin’s ragtime music. (Won an Academy Award for Best Music Adaptation for the film The Sting)
WATCH: Rocky Paterra sings “If You Remember Me” — The Music of Marvin Hamlisch:
But those three scores were only a tiny fraction of the immense musical output of the man whose work earned him three Academy Awards (remarkably, all in the same year), four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony, two Golden Globes, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In fact, he and no less of a musical giant than Richard Rodgers share the distinction of being the only two people to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards plus a Pulitzer Prize.
Obviously, whittling all that music down into a manageable two-hour concert — and doing Hamlisch justice in the process — is no small feat. But for the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, that’s where J. Ernest Green, Hamlisch’s long-time friend and music director, comes in.
Green, who happens to also be a long-time friend of ASO Music Director John Thomas Dodson dating back to the two men’s years at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, guest-conducted the orchestra in Sunday’s season-opening concert, aptly titled “One Singular Sensation.”
Let’s face it, if you’re going to do Hamlisch’s music, having someone up there on the podium who knew the legendary composer, pianist and conductor the way Green did — and could tell stories about Hamlisch and his music from the viewpoint of someone who knew him and clearly was personally very close to him — is certainly the way to go. In fact, it’s impossible to imagine anyone who could have done this performance better. And besides the fact that the affable Green is a great storyteller, he’s also of course an extremely fine conductor, with a whole raft of orchestral, operatic, choral and musical theater credits to his name, and the ASO musicians themselves very visibly were having a good time working with him.
As I’ve said often enough over the years, “pops” does not equal “easy,” and this concert was no exception. Doing a performance like this brings more than its share of challenges for an orchestra, and the ASO rose to the occasion with this music and sounded just terrific.
The concert was an excellent mix of the music everyone knows and some things probably rather less well known, like “Disneyland” from the musical “Smile,” “While I Still Have the Time” from “The Nutty Professor,” and three tunes from his musical “Sweet Smell of Success.” The beautiful music of “Sophie’s Choice,” as beautiful a film score as there ever was, was in the program too, as was “One Song,” with a message of peace and unity that ought to be on the personal playlists of every world leader today.
Source: Arlene Bachanov — Daily Telegram Special Writer