Dallas — Russell Johnson, when designing the acoustics for the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, stated “there must be air around the music, as if the music is floating.” The season opening concert by the Lone Star Wind Orchestra (LSWO), Sunday afternoon, Oct. 25 exemplified what Johnson meant by that. It was as if we the audience were being hugged by sound, really good sounds. Under the leadership of music director and conductor Eugene Migliaro Corporon, the LSWO created an aural fantasyland, a musical playground for our imagination.
Themed “Heroes and Villains,” the program was a celebration of cinematic music beginning with Superman March by John Williams. Notable were the clean, smooth low brass and horns. Following that Vulcan by Michael Daugherty. Inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s now classic Star Trek television series, “Vulcan” pays homage to the series’ universe focused themes. The title refers to the fictional planet Vulcan. Movement 2, “Mind Meld,” intended to represent the telepathic skills of the show’s Vulcan character, Spock, has a gentle jazzy feel, which Corporon massaged with some of the nicest dynamics and phrasings of the program. From a composition perspective, the third movement is the standout, opening with a snare solo and featuring the bassoon and saxophones.
Closing the first half of the program, Gods of Olympus by Oscar Navarro was a symphonic suite in ten movements, each representing one of the deities on Mt. Olympus. Only three of the ten movements were presented on the program: I. Hermes: The messenger of the Gods, VI. Hephaestus: God of fire and forging, and IX. Ares & Athens: Gods of War. Thunder, reflected through the most beautiful, long and evenly sustained timpani rolls, was the thematic element intended to tie the suite together. The last movement featured snare drum solos impressively executed by John Moran and Dana Difilippantonio.
Some of the audience members were costumed as their favorite heroic or villainous characters. A costume contest occurred earlier in the afternoon. Preceding the resumption of the second half of the concert, winners were announced for the categories of Most Unique, Best Villain, and Best Hero. The Grand Prize winner was Batgirl. After recognition by the audience, the second half of the program resumed with Michael Giacchino’s Music from The Incredibles, guided by guest conductor Jackie Townsend. Her conducting was deliberate and precise.
“Journey to the Centre of the Earth” was Peter Graham’s tribute to Jules Verne, author of the famous book of the same title, and widely regarded as the father of science fiction. Graham selected scenes from the book to use as symphonic thematic material: Snæfells, Descent, The Wonders of the Terrestrial Depths, The Day of Rest, Lost in the Labyrinth, The Whispering Gallery, Rescue from the Abyss, Battle of the Antediluvian Creatures and Ascent, and Homecoming. Corporon is not certain but believes this performance of Graham’s score might have been the first in the United States. It is a complex work that was deftly guided by Corporon, resulting in a clean and tight performance.
As the afternoon began with a John Williams score, so it also ended with a much recognized and beloved Williams score, “Adventures on Earth” from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. There was something magical about listening to music from E.T. in the Meyerson while seated under its huge starship-ish acoustical ceiling panel. Heroes, villains, flights of childhood fancy. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon of music.