Saturday, December 18, 2010
We are just a few weeks away from saying goodbye to 2010. The Kansas City Civic Orchestra (KCCO) has enjoyed performing in 2010 – we are also excited to bring music to you in 2011!
We have two great concerts that feature wonderful soloists, a variety of repertoire and a venue that has been a staple in the Kansas City artistic fabric. Join us February 19, 2011 for our concert Remembering Mahler, when we mark 100 years since the death of Gustav Mahler. It has been a remarkable two years of in the life of Mahler…2010 marked the 150th year since his birth! Orchestras around the world are performing Mahler’s music.
I’m particularly excited about this concert – of the programs I put together, this one is my favorite. We will perform Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with soloist Jessica Goldring.
Ms. Goldring, being a resident of Berlin, will capture the Germanic style and grace of this music. Mahler wrote for larger orchestras…KCCO is just that…a large orchestra. However, these collections of songs, though featuring a full ensemble, lend an intimate focus on the text and thematic material that would later make an appearance in Mahler’s famous symphonies.
The orchestra will end the program that evening with the charming and uncharacteristic Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” by Beethoven. I chose the Beethoven symphony because, historically, Mahler was a great pioneer in the closing of romantic symphonic music.
Beethoven began the development and musical innovation in symphonic writing (his 9th symphony…with four soloists and chorus), and Mahler closes the Romanic musical era with his forward thinking symphonies (Symphony No. 10…which he did not finish before his death). Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 is uncharacteristic in the sense that, while most of Beethoven’s music is high drama (to say the least); this particular symphony (while focusing on nature) opens the listener to Beethoven’s intimate, peaceful and charming side. Of course there is still drama – anyone who might listen to a recording of this work will remember that there is a “thunder storm” sequence!
The real trick was finding a work to open the program. I didn’t want to use something bombastic or brash. I wanted to find something that would set the mood – bring the focus of the evening to a quieter place – perhaps a religious or peaceful place. I found such a work in Copland’s Quiet City. Kansas City Civic Orchestra’s own Bryan Miller (trumpet) and Anne Sneller (English Horn) will be the featured soloists in this piece. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for this concert – we will also feature a pre-concert talk at 6:45pm to try to dig a little deeper into the music.
Magnificence, Mendelssohn & Magic – that’s right! I’m talking about an evening of music that could very well knock your socks off. Well, maybe not that kind of music, but certainly packs a punch. KCCO opens the evening with Liszt’s Les Preludes. This composition is, in essence, a tone poem. Words (though wordless) set to music. This piece has everything a fan of Romantic music would want – exuberant brass, lush and exciting string sounds, sweet and charming winds…not to mention percussion placed at the perfect moment.
The program continues with Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, in E minor with violinist Yu-Fang Chen. Ms. Chen is one of Kansas City’s leading violinists…her talents taking her to competitions and performances in the United States and abroad. The performance of this beloved concerto closes the first half of this concert.
The second half opens with a new work, written by composer William Funk. The composition, Trettanrune for String Orchestra, was commissioned by the KCCO.
Join us at 6:45pm as we sit down with the composer to discuss the evolution of this piece, as well as the other works on the program.
The evening concludes with a picturesque scene: the god, Wotan, has put Brunhilda the Valkurie into a deep sleep on top of the mountain. To protect her from anyone who might rescue her…Wotan places a magic fire atop the mountain. Wagner’s (wordless) Wotans Farewell and Magic Fire Music is the final notes of his opera Die Walkuries. It is a wonderful end to a wonderful season. The music is lush with traditional Wagner leitmotiv, doubled string passages, brash and regal brass – it will leave your imagination wondering in true Nordic Mythology.
This program takes place in one of Kansas City’s oldest and most beloved venues, the Folly Theatre. So please come out and hear us. Stay connected on our website: www.kccivic.org – you don’t want to miss the remainder of this season.
For 52 consecutive years the Kansas City Civic Orchestra has been bringing free concerts to the audience of Kansas City…won’t you come and live the music?