Light orchestra goes Around the World in 80 Days

Renowned pianist Frederick Hodges joins the ranks as soloist for show chock full of post-war music.

San Francisco pianist Frederick Hodges will perform several solos in the Palm Court Light Orchestra’s upcoming show

Hearkening back to a time of romantic musical scores and piano concertos, Palm Court Light Orchestra offers audiences a glimpse into the past with their latest show, Around the World in 80 Days.

Featuring San Francisco pianist Frederick Hodges and ten additional orchestra members, the show treats audiences to original music from the 1940s movies Dangerous Moonlight and The Glass Mountain, along with selections from composers including Leroy Andersen, Eric Coates, Canada’s Robert Farnon, Aram Katcharurian and Victor Young, who wrote the theme for the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days.

“It’s a concert of post World War Two light music,” says conductor Charles Job.

“Music from this period, from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, was the pinnacle of light orchestra music.”

Hodges, who also holds a doctorate in history, is a world-renowned pianist acclaimed for his deft handling of virtually all composers from the European masters to Gershwin and Porter. He is returning to the orchestra as the soloist in the powerful The Warsaw Concerto from Dangerous Moonlight, as well as Henri Litollf’s famous and formidable Scherzo,  and Charles Williams’ evocative Jealous Lover.

The pieces are most like mini piano concertos, says Job, as they’re only five or six minutes long, but their brevity has no effect on their impact.

The style paved the way for composers like John Williams and the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, captivating audiences and conjuring emotions with the delicate swell of strings, or the pounding of the ivories.

“It came out of those kinds of movies. All these kinds of heart throbbers and tear jerkers,” says Job. “It’s the kind of program that’s very romantic.”

Though there are some moments of melancholy, as there are in any good story, Job says “it’s bright and happy music.”

“It’s really from another era.”

The show begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 10 at the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave.

Tickets are $28 to $33, available at the box office, marywinspear.ca, or by calling 250-656-0275.

For more information, visit palmcourtorchestra.com.