Its hard to imagine the San Juan Symphony without Arthur Post leading the way from the conductors podium, but the musicians will have to get by without their maestro this weekend.
For Sundays Laughter program at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Post will step aside as Barcelona native Oriol Sans serves as guest conductor. Post is traversing Canada as music director for Thunder Bay, Ontario Orchestra.
Every couple of years Arthurs entitled to pick a guest when he has schedule conflicts, said San Juan Symphony executive director Kathy Myrick.
His wife and child live in Barcelona where he also works at the Opera House and thats where he met Oriol. Oriols teaching at the University of Michigan, so we brought him here while hes in the country.
Sans didnt miss a beat Wednesday night at the Durango Arts Center filling in for Posts regular Musically Speaking preview of Sundays concert. As its name suggests, Laughter is a program of humorously themed selections, and Sans is enthusiastic about Posts chosen pieces.
First up is Jacques Iberts Divertissement, which is comprised of music written for Eugene Labiches play The Italian Straw Hat. The Frenchman wrote a wide range of music, including piano accompaniment for silent films, which gives a hint that he didnt take things too seriously. But he was a talented and creative composer who peppered Divertissement with tricks such as piccolo-sounding violins and snippets of other works, notably Strauss Blue Danube and Mendelssohns Wedding March.
Lets put it this way he knew what he was doing, Sans said of Iberts style.
The next selection on Laughter is as un-Tchaikovsky sounding piece by Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra, which will feature guest soloist Katherine Audas on cello. Sans said Tchaikovskys affinity for Wolfgang Mozart, which approached fawning fan level admiration, explains why the Variations sound more like Mozart than most of the bold Russians work.
Its as close as he ever came to a cello concerto, Sans said.
After intermission, itll be the real deal, as the symphony will launch into Mozarts Overture to The Impresario. The full piece was a German opera-like Singspiel, but with no vocalists on stage Sunday, the overture will have to do.
The music isnt simple the music is great, Sans said of the short (five-minute) work.
Laughter will conclude with Haydns famous practical joke, the Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor, commonly known as his Farewell symphony. He wrote it in 1772 as a protest of sorts in support of his musicians displeasure with Haydns patron, Hungarian Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy. While it may seem absurd that a 240-year-old piece of music can be spoiled, well leave it to Sans and the Symphony to see how they handle the surprise ending. Suffice to say, it should be a fittingly lighthearted finale to a fun afternoon of music.