Brohn’s ’Alhambra’ premieres Saturday

By Lawrence Cosentino
Musicians Walter and Elsa Verdehr were caricatured by Al Hirschfeld in 1998. Courtesy Photo

Double concerto was inspired by Washington Irving

Master orchestrator and arranger (and Michigan State University alum) William Brohn has crafted many award-winning sonic canvases, from Broadway’s "Miss Saigon," "Wicked" and "Ragtime" (for which he won a Tony for best orchestrations) to intense new takes on Prokofiev’s "Ivan the Terrible" and "Alexander Nevsky."

Now, Brohn has written a double concerto for violin, clarinet and orchestra based on Washington Irving’s exotic "Tales of the Alhambra." The vivid, dreamlike music was written for MSU instrumental titans Walter and Elsa Verdehr.

The Verdehrs — with Walter on violin and Elsa on clarinet — will premiere the work with the MSU Symphony Saturday as part of a monster concert that includes Camille Saint-Saens’ chest-rattling "Organ Symphony" and a prelude by Richard Strauss that calls for 21 extra trumpets.

No falling asleep, now.

Michigan State University Symphony

with guest artists Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, clarinet, and Walter Verdehr, violin. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 Cobb Great Hall, Wharton Center. $8-$10 Free for MSU students. (517) 353-5340.