A Night of Free Music along the Charles

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Boston Landmarks Orchestra kicks off its 2014 season

The Boston Landmarks Orchestra launches its 2014 weekly summer concert series tonight at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade with a program featuring Carl Orff’s popular Carmina Burana and the film score from On the Waterfront. Photo by Michael Dwyer

When the Boston Landmarks Orchestra (BLO) was founded in 2001, its goal was to bring Boston’s residents together through music. In addition to free concerts throughout various neighborhoods across the city and various educational programs, the BLO offers a series of free weekly concerts at the Hatch Shell on Boston’s Charles River Esplanade. The 2014 season kicks off tonight with a diverse program, guaranteed to please all musical tastes.

Tonight’s concert begins with a performance of Robert Lowry’s famous 1864 hymn, “At the River.” In keeping with tradition, the BLO performs the piece at the beginning of each season—and each year a different musical arrangement is chosen. This year’s performance will mark the premiere of Boston composer Larry Bell’s interpretation of what has come to be known as the orchestra’s anthem. It’s a fitting choice, given the idyllic setting for the weekly concert series—on the banks of the Charles.

Also on this evening’s program is Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Suite for On the Waterfront, written for the 1954 Oscar-winning film starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. The score earned Bernstein his only Oscar nomination. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a summer evening.

The highlight of tonight’s concert is a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, which will feature the One City Choir, which includes singers from all of Boston’s 20 neighborhoods, and the Back Bay Chorale led by Scott Allen Jarrett (CFA’99,’08), the director of music at Marsh Chapel. One of the most popular pieces of classical music written in the 20th century, the cantata—a musical exploration of love, lust, fortune, and the natural world—is well known to listeners from its frequent use in commercials. The cantata embraces all manner of music—from chant to an almost rock-like style. It was inspired by 24 secular poems written between the 11th and 13th centuries that were discovered in a Benedictine monastery in Bavaria in the 19th century.

Other BLO Hatch Shell concerts this summer will include a program of Latin music and dance titled “Fiesta Sinfónica” on July 24, a program of spirituals on August 13, and a tribute to the bicentennial of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on August 27. For a complete list of the BLO’s summer Hatch Shell concert series, which takes place each Wednesday through August, click here.

The Boston Landmarks Orchestra performs tonight, Wednesday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Hatch Shell and every Wednesday through August. Admission is free. To get to the Hatch Shell, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to an outbound Red Line train and get off at the Charles/MGH stop. For information about weather cancellations, go to the Orchestra’s website.

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