Among the venerable Valley traditions of the Memorial Day weekend is getting out of town, usually to the cooler climes up north. Phoenix Symphony has contrived to do this -- the outfit has a weekendlong stand, playing three concerts at Sedona Cultural Park. This also provides the rest of us with excellent pretext for following the symphony to Red Rock country.
Concert one, slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25, is "All Tchaikovsky." Featured is the "Polonaise" from Eugene Onegin and the overture from Romeo and Juliet, followed by Symphony No. 5 in E minor. Hermann Michael conducts the evening.
The second concert, also conducted by Michael, is called "Night Music," but Mozart's "Little Night Music" isn't on the bill. It kicks off, instead, with Mussorgsky's spooky favorite Night on Bald Mountain. The mood lightens a little with what follows: Mendelssohn's exquisite incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26.
Robert Moody takes the baton for the last of the three evenings, a Memorial Day-themed concert starting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27. The bill is of the patriotic and pulse-stirring sort -- it opens with "The Star-Spangled Banner," and includes a suite from John Williams' score for The Patriot, World War II-era songs, Rodgers and Bennet's Victory at Sea, selections from Les Misérables, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," and a sing-along of "God Bless America," among other works. It's back to Tchaikovsky for the finale: the good ol' 1812 Overture, Op. 49. Who knew Lee Greenwood and Tchaikovsky would ever be on the same bill?