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Sinfonia Salt Lake opens its second season Monday, Oct. 10, with a concert that includes a suite from Bernard Herrmann's iconic "Psycho" score and an orchestration of Franz Schubert's quartet "Death and the Maiden."
"It's kind of a perfect seasonal program for October," the new professional chamber orchestra's music director, Robert Baldwin, said, adding that the concert's setting, the Salt Lake Masonic Temple, should enhance the mood. "The experience starts when you walk up the steps past the sphinxes," he said.
The major work on the program is Gustav Mahler's arrangement of the Schubert quartet. Mahler is always well-received in Utah, but Baldwin noted that the Austrian composer didn't write much music for chamber orchestra. "For Mahler, it was kind of an experiment with orchestration on a work that moved him," Baldwin said. "He expanded it almost into a tone poem." Mahler incorporated string bass, fleshed out the violin parts and called for some performance techniques Schubert wouldn't have. "Otherwise, if people know 'Death and the Maiden,' it's the same, just with a little more depth to it," the conductor said.
Baldwin said Herrmann initially balked at scoring "Psycho" because filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't pay for a full orchestra. Limiting himself to string instruments, the composer "came up with the iconic horror film score, with really percussive, barbaric kinds of sounds you wouldn't imagine coming out of a string ensemble," Baldwin said. The 16-minute suite Sinfonia Salt Lake will play was arranged by musicologist Christopher Palmer, who reconstructed the score using scraps from the film studio's library. "It's pretty seamless," the conductor said, though it might be tricky to trace the narrative thread of the film.
The concert will open with Luigi Boccherini's Symphony No. 6, nicknamed "La Casa del Diavolo (The House of the Devil)."
When • Monday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Where • Salt Lake Masonic Temple, 650 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $20; sinfoniasaltlake.com
Coming up • Sinfonia Salt Lake will present six concerts this season, including a new opera based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and a Martin Luther King Day program of American music. See sinfoniasaltlake.com for details.
Catherine Reese Newton