Friday Evening Bravo Series

Anthony Ross, cello | Photo © Joel Larsen

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No. 2 & 5

About This Concert:

Our star principal cellist, Anthony Ross, steps into the Tchaikovsky Marathon spotlight to spin one gorgeous melody after another in the Rococo Variations, in between performances of two Tchaikovsky symphonies in one night.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 2
Variations on a Rococo Theme
Symphony No. 5

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Rococo theme doesn’t come from the Rococo era (late-18th century), but his own imagination inspired by his hero Mozart, and is followed by eight variations, each more ornate and beautiful than the one before.
  • The word rococo comes from the French word rocaille, which means rock-and-shell garden ornamentation; the style created intricate and whimsical shell-like curves in statues, architecture and design of all kinds.
  • Ten years had passed since Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony when–full of doubt–he started work on his Fifth. After its premiere he said, “I have come to the conclusion that it is a failure.” Today it is his most often-performed symphony.
La Mer

Debussy's La Mer

About This Concert:

Juraj Valčuha returns to conduct Rachmaninoff’s powerful Third Piano Concerto and Debussy’s shape-shifting picture of the sea, La mer.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juraj Valčuha, conductor
  • Kirill Gerstein, piano

LYADOV
The Enchanted Lake

RACHMANINOFF
Piano Concerto No. 3

RESPIGHI
The Fountains of Rome

DEBUSSY
La mer

Fun Facts:

  • At six-foot-six, Rachmaninoff had hands that could span three notes farther than most pianists—one of the reasons his Concerto No. 3 is the most daunting in all the pianist’s literature.
  • The Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parent’s record collection and came to the US when he was only 14 to focus on jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
  • Gerstein won the prestigious (and slightly mysterious) Gilmore Award in 2010, bestowed every four years on an unsuspecting pianist anywhere in the world in recognition of exceptional artistry.
  • Debussy’s parents had plans for their son to join the navy, but Debussy rarely got close to large bodies of water and instead let his imagination set sail when he created his vivid orchestration of the sea in La mer.
Schumann Symphony No. 2

Wagner, Liszt and Schumann

About This Concert:

Wagner’s beautiful chamber work Siegfried Idyll, Liszt’s glittering Piano Concerto No. 1 and the soaring Symphony No. 2 by Schumann.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Markus Stenz, conductor
  • Louis Lortie, piano

WAGNER
Siegfried Idyll

LISZT
Piano Concerto No. 1

SCHUMANN
Symphony No. 2

Fun Facts:

  • Richard Wagner surprised his wife at Christmas long ago with Siegfried Idyll, and her standards were awfully high, as she was also the daughter of Franz Liszt.
  • Of course the piano is the most important instrument in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, but the tiny solo triangle comes in a surprisingly close second.
  • Canada’s Louis Lortie knows his Liszt, and his recent Liszt recording won a “Ten Best” citation from The New Yorker.
  • Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 was a triumph against all odds, written while the composer weathered debilitating mental-health challenges and a constant ringing in his ears.

 

Daniel Müller-Schott, cello

Britten and Schumann

About This Concert:

Schumann painted the human soul at its most noble and lyrical in his beautiful Cello Concerto, while a century later during World War II, Britten created his touching Sinfonia as an impassioned cry for peace.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Michael Francis, conductor
  • Daniel Müller-Schott, cello

BRITTEN
Sinfonia da Requiem

SCHUMANN
Cello Concerto

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Symphony No. 6

Fun Facts:

  • Music in response to war: Benjamin Britten was a passionate pacifist and Ralph Vaughan Williams saw the horrors of war first-hand–each created powerful music against it.
  • Britten risked his career in declaring conscientious objector status at the beginning of WWII, and he left his beloved England for the States where his brand new Sinfonia was premiered.
  • Vaughan Williams was a close eyewitness to WWI’s senseless carnage as an ambulance driver to and from the front lines.
  • Daniel Müller-Schott was only three or four years old when he went with his mother to an orchestral rehearsal to hear the Schumann Concerto. When they got back home, he asked her if he could start cello lessons.
  • Daniel Müller-Schott shocked the music world in 1992, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at age 15.
  • When not practicing cello, Müller-Schott is often found on a soccer field.

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