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Charlie Barnett describes much of his music as “the sound of 1962.” More specifically, the Bethesda composer’s witty arrangements, which play with pop, jazz, and classical elements, recall the king of swank, Henry Mancini.
Barnett is also incorrigibly theatrical and loves to tell a good story. He turned the tale of his family’s vacation road trip to Maine in the summer of ’62 into a “musical home movie” titled The Blue Chevrolet: A Station Wagon Symphony. This Sunday, the Capital City Symphony performs the piece at the Atlas Theater.
Whereas a rock band that writes a catchy song can play it for happy fans pretty much whenever it wants to, reassembling an orchestral work is a much more difficult proposition. So kudos to CCS for choosing a local piece and not just dragging out more damn Mozart.
(Here’s a sample from the symphony; here’s CP‘s story about the work’s premiere; here’s an NPR story on the piece; here’s Barnett discussing his pop band Chaise Lounge.)