Friday Evening Encore 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.

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.
Fauré Requiem

Fauré Requiem

About This Concert:

The spirit of Paris runs like the Seine through this program with two 18th-century symphonies dedicated to the City of Light and a hauntingly beautiful 19th-century religious work by one of Paris’ most treasured composers, Fauré.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Bernard Labadie, conductor
  • Hélène Guilmette, soprano
  • Philippe Sly, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

Symphony No. 4

Symphony No. 31, Paris



Fun Facts:

  • Both Mozart and Rigel were born in German-speaking countries and came as young men to Paris hoping for fame; Rigel found it, but Mozart didn’t and returned home to Austria.
  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 was premiered in Paris by a larger orchestra than the composer had ever heard, prompting his father to quip that the French must like noisy symphonies.
  • Fauré’s Requiem is filled with a quiet beauty, “dominated from beginning to end,” said the composer, “by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”
Andrew Litton, conductor | Photo © Greg Helgeson

Andrew Litton and the Minnesota Chorale: Bernstein and Walton

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

Fancy Free
Chichester Psalms

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.

Osmo Vänskä, conductor | Photo © Stephanie Berger

Season Finale: Vänskä Conducts Mahler's Fourth

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

Low Brass Concerto [World Premiere]

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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