published Friday, October 5th, 2012

CSO opens Pops series with Fab Four two-for-one


What: Chattanooga Symphony and Opera presents: "The Beatles: Revolver/Rubber Soul."

When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

Admission: $19-$81.

Phone: 267-8583.


To kick off this year's Pops concert series, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will perform a pair of Beatles albums widely considered to be among the best the band ever made.

"Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" were released in 1965 and 1966, respectively, and were voted No. 5 and No. 3 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The CSO will perform both from start to finish during Saturday's performance, said maestro Bob Bernhardt, who will conduct the symphony in a collaborative performance with the London, Ontario-based ensemble Jeans 'n' Classics. There will be an intermission between albums.

For Beatles fans, hearing classics such as "Eleanor Rigby," "Taxman" and "Norwegian Wood" in an orchestral setting should be eye-opening, Bernhardt said.

"The Beatles ... were writing iconic songs and ballads from the first moment that they were writing songs ... but with these albums, it's a lot more complicated," he said. "They take a lot more harmonic risks at this point in their career.

"The unexpected chord changes that take place are actually enhanced by an orchestral background. And the ballads ... are greatly enhanced with string backing."

In 2009, Bernhardt conducted the symphony through a similar start-to-finish collaborative rendition of The Beatles' "White Album" for a Riverbend performance featuring Joan Osborne, John Cowan and The Waybacks. Bernhardt said audiences will see a similar level of professionalism from Jeans 'n' Classics that does justice to The Beatles' later-era songs.

"The harmonies and intonations and musicianship are excellent," he said. "Any Beatles fan will find this both nostalgic and absolutely enervating. It's going to be just absolutely incredible."

Bernhardt is a self-described fan of the Fab Four's more-obscure songs -- including "I've Just Seen a Face," the first track on the American release of "Rubber Soul." He said it is difficult not to do Beatles music well, not because it's simple but because the music made such an impression on most people's musical consciousness.

"It's very cool for me because I barely have to study," he said, laughing. "All of this is ingrained pretty much in my head and in my heart."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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