An thrilling begin to its five-concert Masterworks collection, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Friday evening live performance featured two feminine classical music virtuosos: composer Florence Worth’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor and violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen performing Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”.
Introducing a Scottish theme to the primary half of the live performance with Bruch’s Fantasia, Felix Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’ live performance overture was prompted by the composer’s journey to Scotland, the identical journey that will encourage his well-known ‘Scottish Symphony “. Throughout a slightly rugged tour to the island of Staffa within the Inside Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland, Mendelssohn visited Fingal’s Cave, recognized for its acoustics and basalt pillars black. Following this expertise, he wrote a letter to his household with the opening theme of the opening hooked up.
Whereas many items make intensive use of each main and minor keys, the “Hebridean Overture” makes the distinction between the 2 a essential function. Proper from the beginning, the primary presentation of the opening theme rapidly shifts from minor and murky to main and vivid, invoking the darkness and great thing about the cave. The second theme, alternatively, is in a serious key and is extra flowing and lyrical, evoking the rolling of the ocean. The OMD woodwind part shone in the course of the overture, notably within the angelic recapitulation of the second theme.
Not like Mendelssohn, Bruch wrote his tribute to Scotland earlier than touring to the nation. As a substitute, Bruch studied Scottish folks music on the Bavarian State Library in Munich and based mostly every motion of his “Fantasia” on a distinct folks tune. Favoring the primary motion’s melody based mostly on “Auld Rob Morris”, Bruch weaved it into important later moments of the piece, notably on the finish of the violin cadenza within the fourth motion.
From the work’s transferring folks melodies to its sweeping melodic passages, the ‘Fantasy’ showcased Koljonen’s masterful capability to alter register. Every motion demanded one thing completely different from the violinist, and he or she delivered. Within the second motion, she fantastically spins a violin-like splatter determine up and down on her fingerboard with great tone and with out shedding a microsecond of beat. And within the last, Koljonen’s blazingly quick runs, performed with outstanding readability and conviction, had been merely thrilling to observe and listen to.
It wasn’t the primary time OMD Maestro Andrew Sewell and Koljonen had labored collectively, and though it had been greater than 20 years since they’d shared a stage, their chemistry on Friday appeared seasoned. Koljonen stood considerably nearer to the orchestra than many soloists, which helped her have interaction in fixed communication with Sewell. In consequence, Koljonen and OMD remained tightly in sync even by a number of the hardest stretches.
Turning away from the Scottish theme, the live performance ended with an incredible American symphonic work, Symphony No. 1 in E minor by Florence Worth. The piece gained Worth’s first prize on the 1932 Wanamaker Music Competitors, which led to the work’s premiere on the 1933 Chicago World’s Truthful, when it grew to become the primary symphony by a black feminine composer. to be carried out by a serious American orchestra. Subsequently, the Chicago Day by day Information reported, “It’s a work past reproach, a piece that expresses its personal message with restraint and but with ardour… worthy of a spot within the common symphonic repertoire. I enthusiastically agree.
Though it has been carried out for a very long time, Worth’s music has just lately sparked new curiosity. Particularly, the mainstream classical world has solely just lately welcomed many marginalized composers, together with Worth. Seventy years after its premiere, his Symphony No. 1 was revealed in 2008 by AR Publishing in Middleton, and over the previous 5 years or so it has grown in reputation on live performance phases throughout the nation.
From graduating from faculty at 19 to heading a school music division in her twenties, Worth was a trailblazer. Educated in Western classical composition, her type is centered on African-American music and her compositions have been influenced by classical music in addition to African-American folks and standard music. For instance, the third motion of Symphony No. 1 is a Juba motion and highlights the attribute rhythmic sample of Juba, a type of music and dance created by slaves within the pre-war South.
Symphony No. 1 is probably finest recognized for its first motion, which contains a penetrating essential theme and thrilling twists. However maybe the spotlight of the night for me was the second motion. It began with the brass refrain performing a hymn, and because the motion progressed different sections of the orchestra – woodwinds and strings – had a second within the highlight, breaking apart the refrain of the brass choir. It regarded like a loving dialog between the sections.
The final motion ended with a bang. Its quick tempo, quick beats and heavy percussion created an exciting finish to the night. If Friday’s present is a harbinger for the remainder of the OMD Masterpieces collection, we’re set for an thrilling live performance season.
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