September 29, 2011
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra asked two local composers to create a work to celebrate and honor life on the Cape and the Islands.
Sandwich resident David M. Cohen was selected, along with Don Nardo, another Cape composer. Each composed two movements of the piece, titled “Cape Cod Impressions.” The work had its world premiere last weekend at the CCSO’s “Fanfare for the 50th” concerts at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis to enthusiastic cheers and thunderous applause.
Mr. Cohen wrote the first two movements, “Sunrise on the National Seashore” and “Summer on the Cape.” Mr. Nardo composed the second two: “Hidden Harbor” and “In Full Sail.”
Mr. Cohen, who has lived in Sandwich since 1990, welcomed the opportunity to work with CCSO artistic director Jung-Ho Pak, who wanted the composition by local residents to be a gift to the community.
Mr. Cohen based “Sunrise on the National Seashore” on an early summer sunrise. He was inspired by the change from darkness to the emergence of shadowy, not clearly defined images to bright scenes in full sunshine, and the movement reflects these three phases. “Summer on the Cape,” contrasts the bucolic setting of the Cape and the hustle and bustle of the tourist invasion. Peace returns as the tourists fall into the peaceful lifestyle on the Cape.
Mr. Pak asked that each movement incorporate the notes in the letters of Cape Cod: CAECD (eliminating the nonmusical letters P and O).
“The challenge to compose with special attention to a C-A-E-C-D motif inspired even greater creativity,” said Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Nardo portrays a quiet harbor, complete with the sounds of buoy bells and the calls of seabirds in his gentle “Hidden Harbor.” The final movement, “In Full Sail” takes the sailing theme into the open ocean with vibrant orchestration. The movement recognizes both the whaling ships of yesteryear and the whale-watching boats that have replaced them, honoring the “mutual curiosity and respect between two intelligent species,” whale and man.
“I applaud the tireless work of Pak to make the CCSO the pride of the region,” Mr. Cohen said. “I look forward to seeing his efforts to bring orchestral music to the community flourish in the months and years ahead; it would further my dream to continue to be part of those efforts.”
In addition to “Cape Cod Impressions,” the orchestra performed the “Anniversary Overture” by Malcolm Arnold, coincidentally a piece chosen by former CCSO conductor Royston Nash on the 25th anniversary of the orchestra. Mr. Nash was the surprise guest conductor for Giuseppe Verdi’s “Overture to Nabucco,” to the delight of the audience.
Guest soloist Jon Nakamatsu demonstrated his virtuosity in his performance of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra. Mr. Nakamatsu is also co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. The concert ended with a jubilant “Happy Birthday Variations,” arranged by John Williams.