The works Lipsky has chosen are all instantly attractive and instantly memorable. Copland's tender music for The Red Pony (1949) illuminates what he called "the unexpressed feelings of daily living" in the movie based on John Steinbeck's coming-of-age story. Williams's haunting music for Schindler's List (1993) is as frightening and as darkly beautiful as the rest of Spielberg's Holocaust movie. Prokofiev's ironic music for Alexander Feinzimmer's Lieutenant KijÚ (1933) has taken on an independent life as popular concert suite. Walton's martial music from Laurence Olivier's Richard III (1955) is as stirring as his music for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth two years earlier. And Korngold's rousing score for Errol Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) defines music for action-adventure movies.
The joker in the deck is Daugherty's Once upon a Castle. Commissioned in part by the AASO, the work receives its world premiere at this concert. Once upon a Castle is the latest of Daugherty's postmodernist hymns to American popular culture, following his Metropolis Symphony and his opera Jackie O. Daugherty's score calls for a huge orchestra plus theater organ, so the Michigan should be the perfect spot for it.
[Originally published in November, 2003.]