Saturday Evening Allegro Series

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.

 

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

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.

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

STEPHENSON
Low Brass Concerto [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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