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Rock star-ish symphony

Transporting to exotic locales — and England (musically)

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Highlights of the last three months include Leipzig, Germany; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lima, Peru; Chicago, Illinois; Istanbul, Turkey; Tacoma, Washington; England.

Like a rock star, the traveler has a musical sensibility and great hair. Like a supermodel, the traveler has the ability to emote to millions, and great hair.

This particular traveler, Israeli cellist Amit Peled, will visit Tacoma to perform with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra Oct. 13, beginning at 7:30 p.m., potentially to transport the audience to a bucolic place.

Harvey Felder will conduct as the TSO brings “Voices of the English Countryside,” the orchestra’s initial offering for the 2007-2008 season.

Appropriately, the concert features a rock-star composer of the 19th century whose work was the hallmark of a supermodel/rockstar cellist of the 20th Century.

After a Tacoma Symphony Orchestra romp through the fields of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Overture to the Wasps, Peled will play Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, a piece that’s a departure from Elger’s “greatest hit” Pomp and Circumstance March Number One, which many know as “the graduation song.”

In the late ’60s, phenom cellist Jaqueline duPre rocked the classical music world with her interpretation of Elgar’s cello concerto; recordings of it (and movies of her story) live on in legend, especially after duPre died early from the effects of multiple sclerosis.

The darkness of death imbues the piece, a 30-minute journey through the disillusioned part of the English countryside, written by Elgar after a time of introspection after the end of World War I.

But don’t think that means Saturday night will be all stormy gray clouds and thoughts on mortality.

After Peled’s virtuosity in the Concerto in E minor, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra will present Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a frolic through the sounds of the orchestra that fit well with the TSO’s outreach and education mission. Britten created a program with PBS with this song, to teach young people (and their rocker parents) all about the intricacies of the orchestra through the use of a simple theme expanded by each “team” of the orchestra; England old and new will be felt, but in a happy youthful way.

This educational theme will be expanded in a multidisciplinary way with Arnold Bax’ Tintagel, a symphonic poem written by a bit of a writer/composer/wealthy bachelor (even when married) as a musical illustration of a castle high on rocks, sprinkled with a Celtic flavor that gives props to both King Arthur and the sea — because even in England — especially in England, it’s not all frolicking through fields.

But then, that’s kind of like the work of a rock star, supermodel or professional cellist, isn’t it?

[Pantages Theater, Saturday, Oct 13, 7:30 p.m., $22-$75, Ninth and Broadway, Tacoma, 253.272.7264]

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