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Events for June 2018

About This Concert:

A huge success at its 1930s premiere and beloved by orchestras and choirs since, Belshazzar’s Feast tells the ancient Hebrew story of lamentation and liberation.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Andrew Litton, conductor
  • Christopher Maltman, baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

BERNSTEIN
Fancy Free
Chichester Psalms

WALTON
Belshazzar's Feast

Fun Facts:

  • Leonard Bernstein, linked so strongly to Manhattan by his Broadway successes and his years leading the New York Philharmonic, was born 100 years ago—outside Boston.
  • Bernstein’s Fancy Free is a ballet set in WWII-era New York, the comic story of three sailors on leave and looking for love.
  • Belshazzar’s Feast sets Hebrew scripture about the overthrow of Babylonia’s King Belshazzar to sweeping music.
  • The British Broadcasting Corporation commissioned Walton in 1929 to create a “small-scale” choral work, but instead he wrote Belshazzar’s Feast for a chorus and orchestra so large they couldn’t fit into BBC studios.
  • Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the premiere, and as he saw the work-in-progress getting larger and larger he said, “My dear boy, because no one will ever hear this piece again, why not throw in a couple of brass bands?”
  • After the huge success of its 1931 premiere, Belshazzar’s Feast became one of the most popular oratorios of the 20th century.
  • Since his last performance at Orchestra Hall in 2008, Christopher Maltman returns with the Minnesota Chorale.

It takes a larger-than-life talent to bring William Walton’s sweeping oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast to life, and Andrew Litton is just that talent–with a Grammy-winning® recording to prove it. Litton joins us in spring to lead this inspirational setting from the Hebrew scriptures about the liberation of the Jewish people.

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About This Concert:

A brilliant, sunny quartet and a Czech-inspired quintet, featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe and her colleagues from each of our string sections.

Please note: this chamber music performance will be held in the Orchestra Hall auditorium.

MENDELSSOHN
String Quartet No. 4

DVOŘÁK
String Quintet in G major

Fun Facts:

  • Adding the double bass to the standard string quartet gave Dvořák a chamber ensemble that used each of the string instruments of a symphony orchestra.
  • Dvořák’s Quintet was originally 5 movements; one of these movements is now known on its own as his Nocturne for Strings (Opus 40).
  • The String Quartet No. 4 was composed while Mendelssohn was on his honeymoon in the Black Forest.
  • Mendelssohn’s Quartet has several moments that foreshadow his famous E-minor Violin Concerto—a piece that Concertmaster Erin Keefe performed with the Orchestra in 2014.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

Photos © Joel Larson and Josh Kohanek Photography

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About This Concert:

Augustin Hadelich brings his crystalline tone to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, then Orchestra Hall lights up with Berlioz’s brilliant Symphonie fantastique.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Jun Märkl, conductor
  • Augustin Hadelich, violin

BEETHOVEN
Violin Concerto

BERLIOZ
Symphonie fantastique

Fun Facts:

  • Is it too easy or too hard? The Beethoven Concerto isn’t every violinist’s cup of tea because the emphasis here is on lyricism and elegance, not technical fireworks.
  • When Hadelich was a boy, he suffered severe burns and couldn’t play violin for a year. He said, “Because I had this moment where I wasn’t sure if I would ever play the violin again, I appreciate my life more. It made me realize how important music was to me.”
  • Berlioz wrote his Symphonie fantastique when he was only 27 (and most likely experimenting with opium).
  • Leonard Bernstein said, “Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral.”
  • The fifth movement of Symphonie fantastique contains the iconic funeral chant, the Dies Irae.

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About This Concert:

The luminous soprano Carolyn Sampson joins us to perform Mahler’s Fourth—a quiet version of heaven where a child’s every dream comes true.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Carolyn Sampson, soprano
  • R. Douglas Wright, trombone
  • Kari Sundström, trombone
  • Andrew Chappell, bass trombone
  • Steven Campbell, tuba

STEPHENSON
Pillars, a Concerto for Low Brass [World Premiere]

MAHLER
Symphony No. 4

Fun Facts:

  • One of the powerful foundations of our Orchestra is our rockstar low-brass section; Hidden in plain sight, these four gents are the best in the biz!
  • Strauss’ contemporary Gustav Mahler wrote encouragingly for the brass in almost all of his 10 symphonies, giving glorious fanfares to them—though in his tender Symphony No. 4, Mahler gave pride of place to the strings and a solo soprano.
  • The soprano in Mahler’s Fourth sings every exasperated parent’s dinnertime fantasy, as a child describes “good greens of every sort grow in the heavenly vegetable patch, good asparagus, string beans, and whatever we want!”

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About This Concert:

The stellar local trio with a global following, The New Standards join special guests and a stage band to play songs and themes from their favorite cult and classic films, presented with flair and filtered through their inimitable style. Garnish with a bruised sprig of mint.

  • Chan Poling, piano and vocals
  • John Munson, bass and vocals
  • Steve Roehm, vibraphone
  • The New Standards Stage Band

Fun Facts:

  • For this concert, the trio puts its spin on gems by jazz greats like Bacharach and Mancini, riff on European film scores that embody the moody cool of the 60’s and 70’s, and use film clips and projections to channel the singular vibe.
  • The New Standards have roots in iconic Twin Cities bands The Suburbs (Chan Poling), Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic (John Munson), and Billygoat and Electropolis (Steve Roehm).
  • The Star Tribune praised The New Standards 2016 Orchestra Hall concert saying “There were moments in Saturday's performance that truly were revelatory.”
  • Stylish, groovy and endlessly inventive, The New Standards host a party you won’t want to miss.

Please note: The Minnesota Orchestra does not perform on this program.

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