Music, fireworks and cannon fire, courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Cristian Macelaru will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra. Credit: Bob Williams
Cristian Macelaru will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Credit: Bob Williams

On Tuesday associate conductor Cristian Macelaru will raise his baton and lead the Philadelphia Orchestra into battle — complete with cannon fire. For the sixth straight year the full orchestra will play “The 1812 Overture” just before fireworks explode over the Delaware River in a frenzy of sound and color. And all for free.

Marcelaru spoke to Metro about his love of the drama in Tchaikovsky’s music, and the need for more outdoor performances.

“The 1812 Overture” is done all over the country this time of year. Do you have your own particular angle on the piece?
No. I think at this point just about every angle has been tried. Personally, I try to stay as close to the truth of what Tchaikovsky wrote on paper. So perhaps that’s my angle.

What do you like about “The 1812 Overture?”
There is an astounding journey throughout the piece. It begins with this mysterious darkness – this crying of the soul. He takes you from there to the most exhalant ending there is in music. And in the middle you have this incredible tension between those extremes. It’s a masterpiece.

Do you have to prepare differently to perform outside?

There is no permanent amphitheater on Penn’s Landing. We make up for that with modern amplification. That definitely creates a different feel to the sound. And, you know, there is the occasional boat going by. But other than that we prepare exactly the way we would for the Kimmel Center.

What about a more radical neighborhood series? Could you perform in Kensington or Southwest Philly? What about quartets on street corners?
Two summers ago we performed music inspired by water at the Navy Yard. It was an incredible experience. And last year I led a concert with the full orchestra that was free and open to everyone. We know it’s not easy financially for many people to see us at the Kimmel. But if people are really excited and push for us to do more free outdoor shows, we could always do more.

Philadelphia Orchestra
Free Neighborhood Concert

July 2nd, 8 p.m.
Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
Free, 215-893-1999
www.philorch.org


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