Incidental Music from the opera Jesse Owens

Philharmonia Orchestra

Stuart Stratford

Written for full orchestra, the Incidental Music is built from five sections of the main opera into one shorter piece. The opening Overture, with a tempo mark of ‘running’, gives a nod to the first blues being written around the time of the birth of Jesse Owens. The work moves on to the slow-moving picture of Home, a sharecropping farm where Jesse Owens was first brought up. The third section, Klan, briefly orchestrates the tension of the first Act where the Ku Klux Klan play a prominent role. In the opera itself, the third Act is set as a series of film scenes to remember the famous film of the 1936 Olympic Games by the German filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. In this section, The Games, there is the flavour of a German oompah band, and settings of the words ’chills my Jewish bones, Jesse’ and ‘friendship is twenty-four carat’. The work closes with The Empty Stadium, the stadium of Berlin where Jesse Owens triumphed. 

Stuart Stratford, conductor

Philharmonia Orchestra 

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© 2018 Michael Stimpson