Officially, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra begins its season in two weeks. But this weekend the SLSO presents a full production of Howard Shore's music for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy — performances that have already sold out, alas. But because the SLSO is your orchestra — the musicians and staff take the "Saint Louis" portion of their name very seriously, dontcha know — the full gang is assembling on Art Hill in Forest Park at 7 p.m. tonight for a special sneak preview to the prequel to the 2008-2009 season. And this is a free performance, please take note; that's how much they wish to play for you. So if you don't attend, you're an ingrate and you're essentially spitting in the collective face of the orchestra. You bastard. This evening's performance is conducted by Ward Stare, resident conductor and music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and it opens with "The Star -Spangled Banner" and closes with Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." In between you get a little Harold Arlen (The Wizard of Oz: "Fantasy for Orchestra"), a touch of Tchaikovsky ("Trepak" from The Nutracker) and a bit of Berlioz ("Hungarian March" from The Damnation of Faust), among other favorites. So come on out and have a good time, then go home and watch Return of the King. For more information, call 314-533-2500 or www.slso.org.
Thu., Sept. 18, 2008