Classics Series Subscription

We invite you to join us and enjoy the magic of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra from the comfort of your living room! Six Classics Concerts presented in a digital format. With the purchase of a subscription, you and your household will have access to each performance for 30 days after the premiere date.

Our Classics Series concerts will be premiering in order on the following dates:

Classics 1: January 26, 2021

Classics 2: February 16, 2021

Classics 3: March 30, 2021

Classics 4: April 13, 2021

Classics 5: May 11, 2021

Classics 6: June 8, 2021

 

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Classics Series Concert 5: Fate and Hope – Lewes

Classics Series: Concert 5 Lewes

Fate and Hope

From David Amado:

We celebrate Beethoven’s 250th year with a performance of his most famous, and most influential work: his 9th Symphony. Unlike any symphony that preceded it, his 9th, with its use of chorus and singers, and its unprecedented length, opened floodgates of creativity for generations of composers. Joined by the University of Delaware Symphonic Choir and regional soloists, the Delaware Symphony will join orchestras around the globe as we commemorate 250 years of one of Western music’s most revered masters. The first half features Brahms’s Shicksalslied—a masterful setting of Hölderlin’s text—that places Brahms in the pantheon of greats along with Beethoven.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 1:00 p.m.


 

 

 

 

Classics Series Concert 5: Fate and Hope

Classics Series: Concert 5

Fate and Hope

From David Amado:

We celebrate Beethoven’s 250th year with a performance of his most famous, and most influential work: his 9th Symphony. Unlike any symphony that preceded it, his 9th, with its use of chorus and singers, and its unprecedented length, opened floodgates of creativity for generations of composers. Joined by the University of Delaware Symphonic Choir and regional soloists, the Delaware Symphony will join orchestras around the globe as we commemorate 250 years of one of Western music’s most revered masters. The first half features Brahms’s Shicksalslied—a masterful setting of Hölderlin’s text—that places Brahms in the pantheon of greats along with Beethoven.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


 

 

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 4: The Spirit World

Classics Series: Concert 4

The Spirit World

From David Amado:

New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill makes his Delaware debut with Mozart’s only Clarinet Concerto. Written at the end of Mozart’s short life, the clarinet concerto feels operatic, walking a gorgeously fine line between wistful melancholy and joyful virtuosity. We open with Weber’s overture to his opera Oberon, and close with Holst’s The Planets a virtuoso tour de force which has become a sonic template for big orchestral drama. The fact that many of the ideas, motives, textures, and sound palates from The Planets have been lifted wholesale by today’s most successful film composers is a testament to Holst’s talent for brilliant orchestration, and cinematic sweep.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


Read about clarinetist Anthony McGill here.

 

 

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 3: False Starts

Classics Series: Concert 3

False Starts

From David Amado:

Our third Classics concert features two works which have become concert standards after difficult premiers. Rachmaninoff’s expansive and dramatic (and rarely performed) First Symphony receives its Delaware premier 123 years after its disastrously under-rehearsed first performance. Not yet the full-fledged post-Romantic we associate with his later works, this Symphony shows Rachmaninoff as the undisputed heir to the Russian symphonic spirit. French cellist Camille Thomas joins the DSO for Elgar’s Cello Concerto—a contemplative, probing, deeply personal, and private work from the end of Elgar’s career. It synthesizes a lifetime of ideas into a touching and personal work— initially a flop, only to be made popular, and a staple of the repertoire, years after its composition by cellist Jacqueline du Pre in the 1960s. The first half opens with Borodin’s overture to Prince Igor which balances pathos, pomp, and electric energy.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30.


Read about cellist Camille Thomas here.

 

 

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 2: War and Peace

Classics Series: Concert 2

War and Peace

From David Amado:

Our second Classics concert presents music about contrast. Sibelius’s Second Symphony is one of the pieces that established the identity of Finnish nationalistic music, and Sibelius called “a confession of the soul.” Tombeau de Couperin exorcises the demons that haunted those who lived through the Great War. Ravel wrote a series of short pieces, in the style of the great French Baroque keyboard master, François Couperin, in memory of friends lost to the First World War, striking a touching balance between grace and melancholy. In between, we’ll feature pianist Michael Brown in Beethoven’s stormy third piano concerto—at turns gentle and violent—paying homage to the past as much as trailblazing into the future, it shows Beethoven at the cusp of a new era he alone precipitated.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


Read about pianist-composer Michael Brown here.

To read the program notes, click here.

 

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 1: Bohemian Rhapsody

Classics Series: Concert 1

Bohemian Rhapsody

From David Amado:

Our 114th season opens with Dvořák. Bohemian tunes, folk dances, and a decidedly welcoming, sunny vibe permeate Dvořák’s ever-popular 8th Symphony. On the first half, we welcome brilliant violinist Tessa Lark playing Barber’s gorgeous violin concerto—at turns supple, melancholy, and blazingly virtuosic—is one of his most performed and beloved works. We open with A.I. duPont Prize-winner Missy Mazzoli whose music has been consistently called out by musicians and audiences for its drama, tenderness, fire, and directness of communication.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


Read violinist Tessa Lark’s biography here.

Read composer Missy Mazzoli’s biography here.

Read the program notes here.

 

 

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland

Lewes Classics Concert 2: Dancing About Architecture

Classics Series Concert 4

Dancing About Architecture

Celebrating Leon Fleisher at 90

 

  

 

Pre-concert discussion begins at 2:00 p.m.


From David Amado:

[Classics Series Concert 4] welcomes one of the titans of the classical stage. Leon Fleisher will join us in his 90th birthday year to perform Mozart’s 12th Piano Concerto. Its unfiltered buoyancy, melodic invention, and virtuosity will be at the fore as Fleisher will bring the experience of more than half a century of an astonishing career to bear as he joins the DSO for the first time. His insight, knowledge, experience, and raw musical horsepower promise to make his appearance extraordinary. The second half features the DSO premier of Bruckner’s magnificent 7th Symphony—a masterpiece of sonic architecture. 19th Century romantic harmony, Classical form, and an ancient, otherworldly aesthetic make this symphony one of his most popular.

Read pianist Leon Fleisher’s biography: Leon Fleisher biography

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 4 Program Notes

 

Lewes Classics Concert 1: The American Dream

Classics Series: Concert 1

The American Dream: A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein

 

Pre-concert discussion begins at 2:00 p.m.


From David Amado:

We celebrate Bernstein’s Centenary with an all-American program. Two masterful ballet scores—Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Barber’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance are joined Robert Paterson’s colorful and compelling 21st Century portrait of Vermont’s Green Mountains. We’ll feature brilliant, critically acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh in Bernstein’s Serenade. Based on Plato’s Symposium, it is musical testament to love and friendship—always infused with Bernstein’s gift of melody, rhythmic vitality, and sharp wit.


Read violinist Jennifer Koh’s biography: Jennifer Koh biography

Read about the Alfred I. duPont Composer Award and our 2018-2019 Season winner, Robert Paterson: Alfred I. duPont Composer’s Award and 2018-2019 Winner

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 1 Program Notes

Watch violinist Jennifer Koh’s speech from the most recent League of American Orchestras Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a95KVFCJzw&feature=youtu.be

Read her speech here: https://americanorchestras.org/images/stories/2018_Conference/Jennifer_Koh_Speech.pdf

Classics Series Subscription

All Fridays | All at 7:30 | All at the Grand

September 27, 2019: Bohemian Rhapsody

November 15, 2019: War and Peace

January 17, 2020: False Starts

March 27, 2020: Spirit World

May 15, 2020: Fate and Hope

Subscribe to the Classics Series today!

 

Classics Series Concert 1: The American Dream

Classics Series: Concert 1

The American Dream: A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein

 

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


From David Amado:

We celebrate Bernstein’s Centenary with an all-American program. Two masterful ballet scores—Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Barber’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance are joined Robert Paterson’s colorful and compelling 21st Century portrait of Vermont’s Green Mountains. We’ll feature brilliant, critically acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh in Bernstein’s Serenade. Based on Plato’s Symposium, it is musical testament to love and friendship—always infused with Bernstein’s gift of melody, rhythmic vitality, and sharp wit.


Read violinist Jennifer Koh’s biography: Jennifer Koh biography

Read about the Alfred I. duPont Composer Award and our 2018-2019 Season winner, Robert Paterson: Alfred I. duPont Composer’s Award and 2018-2019 Winner

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 1 Program Notes

Watch violinist Jennifer Koh’s speech from the most recent League of American Orchestras Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a95KVFCJzw&feature=youtu.be

Read her speech here: https://americanorchestras.org/images/stories/2018_Conference/Jennifer_Koh_Speech.pdf

Classics Series Concert 3: Alpha and Omega

Classics Series Concert 3

Alpha and Omega

    

 

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


From David Amado:

From Tchaikovsky’s first foray into the symphony, to Strauss’s last work, our third Classics program indulges in the passionate, emotive power of some of our most beloved romantic composers. Tchaikovsky’s first symphony “Winter Dreams” is infused with his gift of melody, a powerful sense of drama, brilliant, virtuoso writing, and a powerful Russian soul. White-hot Tchaikovsky is balanced by Strauss’s Four Last Songs—wistful and nostalgic, they are a Romantic epilogue in tribute of the ripe, unabashed heart-on-sleeve passion that had long since fallen out of style. We begin with Sibelius’s Night Ride and Sunrise, an evocative tone poem as much about a sleigh-ride as about a spiritual journey and transformation.

Read soprano Mary Wilson’s biography: Mary Wilson biography

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 3 Program Notes

Classics Series Concert 2: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Classics Series Concert 2

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

 

  

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


From David Amado:

Beethoven was swept up in the revolutionary zeitgeist—aligning himself particularly fervently with the values that defined the French Revolution.  We’ll play his third symphony, the Eroica, first dedicated to Napoleon, then, in a moment of moral clarity, rededicated to the heroic spirit of the revolution. The symphony—longer, more dramatic, more overtly emotive than previous symphonies, totally upended audience expectations, and redefined the genre.  Cherubini, also immersed in French Revolutionary values, wrote dozens of of works capturing the spirit of the time.  His Requiem is one of his finest, and a work Beethoven admired and praised as even greater than Mozart’s Requiem. The University of Delaware’s Schola Cantorum will return to the Grand for this performance.

Read about the University of Delaware Symphonic Choir and its Director, Dr. Paul D. Head: University of Delaware Symphonic Choir, Dr. Paul D. Head

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 2 Program Notes, Texts and Translations

Classics Series Concert 4: Dancing About Architecture

Classics Series Concert 4

Dancing About Architecture

Celebrating Leon Fleisher at 90

 

  

 

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


From David Amado:

Classics 4 welcomes one of the titans of the classical stage. Leon Fleisher will join us in his 90th birthday year to perform Mozart’s 12th Piano Concerto. Its unfiltered buoyancy, melodic invention, and virtuosity will be at the fore as Fleisher will bring the experience of more than half a century of an astonishing career to bear as he joins the DSO for the first time. His insight, knowledge, experience, and raw musical horsepower promise to make his appearance extraordinary. The second half features the DSO premier of Bruckner’s magnificent 7th Symphony—a masterpiece of sonic architecture. 19th Century romantic harmony, Classical form, and an ancient, otherworldly aesthetic make this symphony one of his most popular.

Read pianist Leon Fleisher’s biography: Leon Fleisher biography

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 4 Program Notes

Classics Series Concert 5: Roman Hollywood

Classics Series Concert 5

Important: Wilmington Grand Prix Information!

Our May 17, 2019, performance will take place the evening prior to the Wilmington Grand Prix bicycle race. Preparations for that race will begin Friday and some traditional access to The Grand Opera House will be limited.  Please allow some extra time for your arrival to the pre-concert discussion and performance.
 
Beginning at 6:00 pm on May 17th, there will be no traffic or parking permitted on North Market Street. Fencing will be constructed during the evening hours; however, Grand Prix officials have arranged for pedestrian crossings to be left open at specific locations, including 5th, 8th, and 9th Streets, for DSO patrons to access the restaurants along North Market Street and the new parking garage on Shipley Street. Patrons will not be permitted to drive on North Market Street, even to drop patrons off at The Grand Opera House’s main entrance. 10th Street will also be closed from Orange Street to King Street. 
 
We encourage all patrons to use King Street and the King Street entrance to The Grand Opera House. The DoubleTree garage will be open and available to accommodate all DSO patrons.
 
We are working directly with the senior communities that provide shuttle bus service to and from our concert. If you use this service, please contact your shuttle coordinator for details.
 
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this, or require specific accommodations, please contact the DSO office by telephone at (302) 656-7442 or by e-mail at dso@delawaresymphony.org. 
 

Roman Hollywood

    

This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff is the uncle of Tatiana Copeland’s mother.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.


From David Amado:

Three masterpieces: each of which speaks to, or listens to, Hollywood. Respighi’s glittering Fountains of Rome is cinematic in its sweep, drama, and jaw-dropping technicolor orchestration; Rachmaninoff’s ripe romanticism of his final symphonythough written in Switzerland, speaks the lush language of Hollywood’s golden age. Rozsa’s (El Cid, Ben-Hur) Cello Concerto (featuring brilliant young cellist Nick Canellakis) is concert music written by a silver screen master.

Read cellist Nicholas Canellakis’ biography: Nicholas Canellakis biography

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 5 Program Notes

Classics Series

The 2017-2018 Classics Series has been announced, featuring 5 Friday evening programs!

Click View Details below to view the upcoming performances and secure your season subscription. Pro-rated subscriptions are still available! Contact the DSO office for details.

For single tickets: Visit tickets.thegrandwilmington.org or call 302.652.5577 to purchase your single tickets today!

Photo by Joe del Tufo

Classics Series Concert 1 – Sussex

 Protest and Rebellion

Not all protest is angry and violent.  Prokofiev, working against the tide of ever-larger, more complex, and dissonant musical forms, looked back to the buttoned-up decorum of the 18th Century as inspiration for his ebullient Symphony No. 1. It is a 20th Century take on Classical-era values, amped up with hyper-virtuosity and occasional flashes of bitter and ironic modern harmony and wit.

Mozart’s second trip to Paris yielded, among many things, the Concerto for Flute and Harp.  It is the only piece in which he wrote for the harp. There is no rebellion here. Rather, Mozart is the darling of the very society that Beethoven, and so many, would push back so violently in only a few decades. The concerto is of another era—refined, sometimes appealingly formulaic, and always with manners before all else. These values are precisely why Beethoven’s 5th is so explosive, subversive and bracingly new. We’ll feature our wonderful principal flutist, Kim Reighley, and our principal harpist, Sarah Fuller. How lucky we are to have such talent in our midst.

Beethoven, deeply moved by the values that fueled the American and French Revolutions, saw music not as the pursuit of the 1%, but as a powerful expression of solidarity with the masses.  We close this first concert with the 5th Symphony, with its famous opening notes, which has become the musical analog for triumph over adversity.

‑David Amado

DENYCE GRAVES

On March 26, 2017, the Delaware Symphony will return to Kent County for its first performance in the beautiful Dover High School Theater. For this special event, we will welcome internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Denyce Graves to perform the solo part in the Ballet Suite from Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo. David Amado comments, “Filled with Andalusian passion, Gypsy flair, magic, ghosts, and, in the end, true love, it is a glittering showpiece for both singer and orchestra.” The concert concludes with Beethoven’s electric 7th Symphony, which Richard Wagner called “the apotheosis of the dance” for its intense rhythmic energy. The program opens with Elgar’s beautiful Serenade for strings, which Amado calls “as decorous as the Beethoven is raucous.”

ALON GOLDSTEIN

David Amado comments:
The 2016-2017 season also signifies the beginning of a multi-year survey of all the major symphonic works of Beethoven. The survey begins February 24, 2017 when Wilmington favorite pianist Alon Goldstein returns to perform the Piano Concerto No. 1. Amado finds the concerto, “filled with wit, subtlety, and the fiery virtuosity the composer was known for as a player. Alon Goldstein will bring just the right balance of intimacy and flair.” Anna Clyne’s fragile and affectionate Within Her Arms opens the program. This deeply affecting work, written in memory of her mother, invites comparisons with Barber’s Adagio. The sunny Second Symphony of Brahms will conclude the concert.

JINJOO CHO

David Amado comments:
The 2014 winner of the quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Jinjoo Cho, will perform the Violin Concerto by Erich Korngold, who is equally known for his film scores, including the classic “Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn. “Korngold shows us just why his music was such a hit with studio big shots of the Golden Age of Hollywood, notes Amado. “Technicolor orchestration and larger-than-life dramatic flair brought home by the brilliant violinist, Jinjoo Cho.” The concert opens with Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, a work described by Amado as, “the literal alpha and omega of this opera. From the opening music, with its famously unresolved ‘Tristan chord’, the piece fast-forwards to the end of the mammoth opera to the glorious conclusion where love is finally achieved—but only in death.” Carrying forward the dual themes of love and cinema, the second half includes the equally riotous and moving Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Bernstein, and Ravel’s Bolero.

JAIME LAREDO and SHARON ROBINSON

David Amado comments:
The season begins with violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson performing the Double Concerto written for them by André Previn, winner of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-2017 season A. I. du Pont Composer’s Award. This work, co-commissioned by eight world-class orchestras will receive its first performance following those of the co-commissioners in Wilmington. The concert will close with the monumental Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler. Referring to the Mahler, Amado comments, “From its dark, funereal opening to its blazing, triumphant final movement—it gloriously fulfills Mahler’s own requirement that a ‘symphony must be like the world….and contain everything.’ From its darkest moments to its most brilliant climaxes, this is one of the glories of the symphonic literature.” About the Previn concerto, he adds that it is, “a work filled with charm, grace, good humor and beauty—it is a perfect partner for the universalist Mahler.”

SERGEI BABAYAN

David Amado comments:
The series finale will take place May 12, 2017 and feature an all-Russian program filled with bravura. Stravinsky’s brittle, ascetic Ode—music once destined for an Orson Welles film—will be balanced by the ripe romanticism of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto (popularized in the movie, “Shine”), and the evergreen Fourth Symphony by Tchaikovsky. Amado comments on the program, “Brought to life by Russian pianist Sergei Babayan, the Rachmaninoff is at turns a wistful, brilliant and passionate last breath of the waning Romantic Era. Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, on the other hand, is the Romantic Era’s standard-bearer—dramatic, volatile, tender, languid, and in the end, triumphant.”

Classics Series Concert 5

 

Mahler 7

Gustav Mahler, like Beethoven and Schubert, wrote 9 symphonies.  But, from a duration standpoint, with a standard set by Beethoven’s first symphony, he wrote more like 18 symphonies.  While Beethoven and Schubert wrote symphonies whose DNA connected them to Haydn and Mozart, Mahler’s symphonic DNA, though connected to Beethoven, was equally connected to the opera house.  Though his aesthetic is not rooted in the world of Verdi or even Wagner, his sense of drama, his scope of emotion, and his freedom from hard-line symphonic form make his symphonies often feel like operas without words.  They are so powerfully propelled by a sense of drama and direction that a solid hour and a third of music often ends up feeling compressed into minutes.  Mahler’s Seventh is his least played, and perhaps least understood.  The third of his middle symphonies that have no singers or chorus. The orchestra is large, but not his largest—and is most notable for the brief, but important, inclusion of mandolin and guitar.  The work, like so much Mahler, is deeply personal—and vacillates, sometimes with dramatic swings, between painful intimacy and spectacular bombast.

For program notes on the concert, click here.

Classics Series Concert 1

To subscribe, call 302.656.7442 x. 1000 and reserve your seats for the 2017-2018 Season today! 

 Protest and Rebellion

Not all protest is angry and violent.  Prokofiev, working against the tide of ever-larger, more complex, and dissonant musical forms, looked back to the buttoned-up decorum of the 18th Century as inspiration for his ebullient Symphony No. 1. It is a 20th Century take on Classical-era values, amped up with hyper-virtuosity and occasional flashes of bitter and ironic modern harmony and wit.

Mozart’s second trip to Paris yielded, among many things, the Concerto for Flute and Harp.  It is the only piece in which he wrote for the harp. There is no rebellion here. Rather, Mozart is the darling of the very society that Beethoven, and so many, would push back so violently in only a few decades. The concerto is of another era—refined, sometimes appealingly formulaic, and always with manners before all else. These values are precisely why Beethoven’s 5th is so explosive, subversive and bracingly new. We’ll feature our wonderful principal flutist, Kim Reighley, and our principal harpist, Sarah Fuller. How lucky we are to have such talent in our midst.

Beethoven, deeply moved by the values that fueled the American and French Revolutions, saw music not as the pursuit of the 1%, but as a powerful expression of solidarity with the masses.  We close this first concert with the 5th Symphony, with its famous opening notes, which has become the musical analog for triumph over adversity.

‑David Amado

Classics Series Concert 2

To subscribe, call 302.656.7442 x. 1000 and reserve your seats for the 2017-2018 Season today!

Mother Earth

Debussy: La Mer‑ With Debussy began a new kind of music.  Though composers have been influenced by the East for generations (remember Mozart’s Rondo a la Turk), for almost a century, the Orient was anything east of Vienna.  With Debussy and his contemporaries, western composers began to look past the Ottoman Empire and into the Far East.  Debussy was particularly fascinated with the Javanese Gamelan—an orchestra of percussion instruments whose repeated patterns create an undulating, textural tapestry, whose sound finds its way into much of Debussy’s music.

David Ludwig, familiar to DSO audiences, returns with his Pictures from the Floating Gardens—a work written for my Juilliard classmate, Danny Matsukawa, principal bassoonist of the small orchestra up the road (the Philadelphia Orchestra). To play the part of Danny, we are welcoming back our former principal bassoonist, Billy Short, who when not visiting Delaware, is busy as co-principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. 

Grofè: Grand Canyon Suite: There was, in the 1920s and 30’s an amazing confluence of musical and cultural threads that incubated some amazing hybrid music.  Think Rhapsody in Blue, Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra, or the grand symphonic nature of scores to some of the Hollywood classics of the day—like Gone with the Wind, Captian Blood, or Robin Hood.  There was a general embrace of cross-pollination.  In this atmosphere, Ferde Grofè wrote the Grand Canyon Suite.  Filled with cinematic sweep, and graphic musical tone-painting, Grofè blends a populist aesthetic with a fine ear to orchestration and dramatic unfolding.                                                                                                           

‑David Amado

Classics Series Concert 3

To subscribe, call 302.656.7442 x. 1000 and reserve your seats for the 2017-2018 Season today!

Riots

Elena Urioste comes back to Delaware to play Beethoven’s monumental Violin Concerto.  You remember Beethoven.  The angry guy who deeply wanted to believe in Fraternity, Liberty,  and Equality.  There is no better musical form than the concerto to explore those values.  A soloist in a context of a larger society‑‑ a larger culture.  The soloist interacts‑‑ sometimes in harmony, sometimes in conflict, with the environment‑‑ always looking for a way to foster and grow the relationship.  Beethoven’s only violin concerto begins with a famous timpani solo‑‑four “d”s‑‑already a rebellious conceit‑‑-starting with a drum solo‑‑but it provides the musical DNA for the whole work which is expansive‑‑at turns dramatic and lyrical.

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, like the opening of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, places high structural and aesthetic value on percussion.  A primitivistic ballet score, the Rite was received at its premier with booing and hissing that devolved into a riot.  But it was not the music that incited violence, in spite of the score’s raw, untethered energy.  Instead, it was the dancing which seemed to violate every tenet of classical ballet.  As it happens, the score violates a lot of old, and long standing, tenets too.  Bitonality; lopsided rhythmic grooves; brazen dissonance; and wildly inventive orchestration make Rite of Spring sound fresh and shocking no matter how many times it is played.                                            

‑David Amado

Classics Series Concert 4

To subscribe, call 302.656.7442 x. 1000 and reserve your seats for the 2017-2018 Season today!

Destiny

Verdi ruled the Italian Opera Stage in the 19th c.  As such, we don’t get to indulge much at the symphony.  But when we do, it is mostly through the overtures he wrote for his operas.  We’ll begin our fourth Classics Series concert with his virtuoso overture to La Forza del Destino.  Verdi was known for his innate sense of the voice, and his ability to showcase it.  In overtures, with no voices to showcase, he equally expertly shines a light on the orchestra.  The Forza Overture is one of Verdi’s finest—great tunes, dramatic swings, bristling energy, and showstopping virtuosity.

Next is Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. The young American Van Cliburn rose to international stardom when in 1958, with this piece as his vehicle, he became the first American to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in the chill of the Cold War.  The Soviets surely were expecting to demonstrate their cultural superiority to the west—but Cliburn eclipsed the other contestants, and won over the jury.  The rest is history.  In the role of Cliburn, we welcome Orien Weiss—a brilliant musician of our era. The concerto is brimming with beloved tunes and pianistic pyrotechnics.  And of course, Tchaikovsky was, together with Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Schubert, one of the finest melodists to walk the planet.  And he gives us some of his finest here.

We close with Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.  Where Tchaikovsky—and Beethoven—wrote concertos featuring a soloist (or in the case of Mozart, two soloists), Bartok changed the rules of engagement, and wrote a concerto for everyone.  It is the ultimate in egalitarianism.  The whole orchestra is the soloist.  Different sections, and individuals take their turn showing off.  Bartok was one of the first ethnomusicologists—he roamed around his native Hungary with a wax cylinder recorder documenting locals’ folksongs.  Many of those songs find their way into his work—but more importantly, the musical language of those songs becomes Bartok’s own—imbuing his work with a genuine flavor of Hungary. 

‑David Amado