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It's not every day that you get an Israeli pianist, a Palestinian oud player, and an Egyptian conductor together on the same stage.
But this is exactly what the Sacramento Philharmonic did during its "Songs of Hope" concert at Sacramento's Community Center Theater on Saturday evening. And in doing so, this orchestra made the elegant argument that music can destroy all borders and make friends of perceived enemies.
That music has this potential, however, has never been in question. The larger question was how such a Middle Eastern focus to the music would play in Sacramento.
There is something both intimate and grand about Edward Elgar’s not-oft-performed oratorio The Dream of Gerontius. Perhaps, it’s the challenge of reconciling those dissimilarities that makes this work, written in 1899-1900, a rarity. Or maybe it’s the fact that there are plenty of tricky musical parts to navigate for chorus, orchestra, and soloists?