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We stand on the cusp of a new season for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. So, are we to view the next eight months of performances as a mountain to be scaled, or are we already at the summit and everything from this point on is a pell-mell race to the base? Judging from the program for this evening's traditional free concert in Forest Park (314-533-2500 or, this season is going to be fun-filled sleigh ride down a very steep mountain. Tonight's performance, which begins at 7 p.m. on Art Hill and is conducted by Ward Stare, opens with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and closes with "The Stars and Stripes Forever" — that is bombast piled atop bombast. In between those patriotic chest-swellers we get "The Montagues and Capulets" theme from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet; the rampant heroics of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries; and John Williams' epic and much-beloved main theme from Star Wars, along with several other surprises. Yeah, that's crowd-pleasing program right there. So go, and get a taste of the thrill ride that's coming our way.
Thu., Sept. 17, 2009

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