We started tonight’s show with Pyotr Tchaikovsky‘s 1812 Overture (actual title: The Year 1812 (Festival Overture in E Flat Minor, Op. 49). Tchaikovsky wrote the piece in 1880 to be part of a series of events that surrounded the dedication of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. It was to be performed outdoors in front of the Cathedral, with an orchestra reinforced by a brass band, and with various cathedral bells around the city ringing to support the performance, and with various cannon fired at appropriate times (sixteen cannon pieces would be required). However, the 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II curtailed the plan, and the piece was eventually premiered in 1882 with normal instrumentation. Various occasions have seen the piece performed with the intended instrumental enhancements, although the difficulty of the logistics involved coordinating cannon fire usually require the use of pre-recorded cannon fire. The arrangement we heard tonight, via a recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Eugene Ormandy, is by the American conductor Igor Buketoff, who added choral parts at key points of the piece (they are singing the Russian choral anthems God Preserve Thy People and God Save the Tsar, both of which were notable melodic themes used by Tchaikovsky to illustrate the victory of the Russians over the Grande Armee of Napolean in 1812).
The 2006 remaster of Santana’s Santana III included a second disc which featured a notable 1971 concert in its entirety. This July 4th, 1971 performance is significant in that it was the last concert held at the Filmore West in San Francisco, as well as the fine performance that Santana gave. From that live recording, we heard excellent renditions of Batuka, No One To Depend On, Toussaint L’Overture, Taboo, Jungle Strut, and Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen.
I’ve been wanting to program some As I Lay Dying for a few weeks now, especially as they have put out a brand new album, Awakened, on September 25th. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet been able to acquire the new album as of yet (I’ve heard good things about the album, however). So, while we anxiously await this acquisition, we heard a few older classic tracks that will surely hold us over: Meaning in Tragedy (from 2005’s Shadows are Security), Bury Us All (from 2007’s An Ocean Between Us), and War Ensemble, their excellent Slayer cover from the recent EP Decas. Interesting side note: they will be playing St. Louis in late November, co-headlining with Asking Alexandria (they like to bring young, upcoming bands on tour – this is a good thing). AILD fans will surely be looking forward to that.
Miles Davis had an interesting, varied career that pretty much epitomizes much of the theory that The Galaxy is built upon. He started as a sideman, most notably working for Charlie Parker for several years during the late ’40s. In 1949 he organized the Birth of the Cool project with various members of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, using some great arrangements from Thornhill arranger and future Davis collaborator Gill Evans. Then, starting in the mid ’60s, he helped lead a trend of jazz musicians blending jazz and rock. While fusion eventually became widely panned, Davis’ original concept of fusion was vastly different from the fusion that we heard in the ’80s and ’90s, far closer to the sort of avant garde jazz that was far more common in the ’60s. In recent years, there have been several live recordings released that give a new perspective to Davis’ performance during that period. From the Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970) release, we heard Directions, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, Bitches Brew, and Spanish Key.
We closed the show with some more music that I’ve been trying to insert into the show for the last few weeks: Dokken’s Alone Again, and Van Halen‘s 5150.