A ROMANTIC start to 2013 is promised by St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) who will be packing their traditional New Year Concert with favourite classics.

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But since Gershwin’s jazz-influenced An American in Paris is included in the programme at 7pm on Janury 1 in St Albans Abbey, it should also be something of a hoot.

Keen to recreate the street sounds of Paris in his music, Gershwin included parts for taxi horns in his 1928 score and personally imported them from France to New York for the first performance.

His ‘rhapsodic ballet’ describes a homesick American strolling around the French capital.

For film fans, however, the music is most likely to evoke memories of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron dancing by the River Seine in the 1950s Oscar-winning movie of the same name.

Under the baton of principal conductor Bjorn Bantock, the orchestra will also be performing Tchaikovsky’s dramatic account of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.

The poignant Prelude to the final act of Verdi’s tragic opera La Traviata will feature, alongside the much-loved Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and the popular Invitation to the Dance by Weber.

Borodin’s tone poem In the Steppes of Central Asia, depicting an eastern caravan crossing Russia, contributes an exotic note to the evening which will also include Shostakovich’s entertaining Jazz Suite No 2.

Music lovers who associate New Year with Vienna and its ‘Waltz King’ will not be disappointed either. The Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss the Younger is promised as part of the formal proceedings with past experience of SASO’s New Year concerts suggesting there could be another Viennese piece of music before the conclusion.

Tickets are available at prices of £20, £16, £12 and £8 (£1 accompanied children under 18 and £5 students) and can be purchased from the SASO Ticket Secretary by calling 01727 857422, or emailing tickets@saso.org.uk, from the Abbey box office on 01727 890256 or online via allaboutstalbans.com (booking fee applies).

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