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Orchestral 'Words!' at the Bankhead

Musical showcase evokes 'childhood memories and joys'

Pacific Chamber Orchestra's upcoming production, "Words!", features two sets of creative works tied together by the voice of award-winning soprano Marnie Breckenridge next weekend at the Bankhead Theater.

Breckenridge will be the soprano soloist during a chamber orchestra version of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 and then serve as the reciter of classic Edith Sitwell poems accompanied by the music of William Walton, as they were often performed in their era.

"The aim of 'Words!' is to place the Germanic and Romantic long melodic lines of Gustav Mahler's 4th Symphony with the singing soprano next to the British 20th Century humoresque of Edith Sitwell poems spoken rhythmically," PCO conductor Lawrence Kohl said in a statement.

"The works illuminate each other in their differences and in some amazingly similar aims," Kohl added. "Both works express different types of childhood memories and joys: Mahler starting with a child's joy at hearing sleigh bells, then culminating in a child's vision of Heaven while Walton evokes a child in play with almost nonsensical short punchy lines of poetry and music."

Kohl described Breckenridge, who won a 2020 Dora Award, as being known for "her deeply expressive score interpretations, layered characterizations, and her lyrical, pure soprano."

"Words!" will be performed at the Bankhead Theater in downtown Livermore Sunday (March 27) at 3 p.m. Tickets are available via pacificchamberorchestra.org. The group is bringing the same show to the Orinda Library's auditorium theater the night before, March 26.