Folsom Symphony opens season with ‘A Heart’s Jewel & Triumph’
Attending a live concert, as most know, is a multi-dimensional experience. A rock concert is a far larger experience than simply listening to a recording.
This is equally true of classical music. Much as I love my musical collection of LPs, CDs and mp3s … there is nothing like experiencing the real deal.
I commented on this to Maestro Michael Neumann of the Folsom Symphony after a performance of Richard Rogers’ “Victory at Sea.” I was well aware that the score was written for television, to accompany film footage from World War II. In one of the musical passages, all of a sudden I felt as if I was at sea — there was such a motion of sound from the symphony.
“Oh,” replied Maestro with a smile. “That’s the section where the score says, ‘The Big Wave.’”
On the evening of Oct. 20, the Folsom Symphony opens the 2012-13 season with musical pieces that convey the intangibles of heart, mystery, joy and triumph.
“A Heart’s Jewel and Triumph” will feature the works of Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Schubert, Antonín Dvořák and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Mendelssohn’s “Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64” is a piece with real heart. First performed in 1845, this work grew in popularity. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest violin concertos of all time. Mendelssohn introduced several musical innovations in the score which were novel for that era. This work influenced composers of the Romantic era, including Tchaikovsky.
The concerto is a technically challenging piece. Violinist Rebecca Corruccini will guest as soloist. Corruccini is a Sacramento Youth Symphony alumna now with the Minnesota Orchestra. A chamber musician, she is the concertmaster for the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.
Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8” is often referred to as the “Unfinished Symphony.” This is because it consists of only two movements. Most symphonies have four movements.
Hidden for some 40 years after the composer’s death, the “Unfinished” was first performed in Vienna in 1865. It was hailed as a “brilliant masterpiece” and has remained in the repertoire ever since. It was featured prominently in Stephen Spielberg’s “Minority Report” in 2002.
Maestro Neumann describes the first movement the symphony as “quiet and melancholy with a few minutes of agitation” and the second as “gentle, serene, fragile.”
Dvořák’s “Carnival Overture” is the second part of the Czech composer’s trilogy of “Nature, Life and Love.” This work was truly an exercise in “coming to grips” with another romantic composer of his day, Richard Wagner. Wagner’s use of leitmotifs and storytelling in his operas were the “rage of the age.”
Dvořák said this work was intended to tell the story of “a lonely, contemplative wanderer reaching at twilight a city where a festival is in full swing. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and the unrestrained hilarity of the people giving vent to their feelings in songs and dances.”
Audiences are widely familiar with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” also known as “The Year 1812 (Festival Overture in E Flat Major, Op. 49).”
Maestro Neumann refers to this piece as “bombastic,” and that is a good description. What other musical piece is so widely associated with the firing of cannons?
The “1812” is replete with “leitmotifs” — melodies and themes that are rich in meaning and symbolism. One can close one’s eyes and be transported to the desperate situation of a people whose motherland is invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Army of the Republic, and to their ultimate victory as the invader is driven out. This is some of the most triumphant music in the romantic repertoire.
“A Heart’s Jewel and Triumph” will be performed Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m., at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College. Visit threestages.net or call (916) 608-6888 for tickets. Also visit folsomsymphony.com.
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