Concerts: The Virtuoso Orchestra

The Virtuoso Orchestra:
Enesco, Poulenc, Wickman, Debussy, Elgar

For his second concert, Maestro James Orent takes us on a "Grand Tour" of countries and indefinable realms of the imagination, ranging from Edwardian England to "infinite space." We start in Romania, with the most popular work by Georges Enesco, his Romanian Rhapsody #1 (1901). It’s filled with a variety of folk-based melodies, by turns seductive, merry, and abandoned. Next we have the East coast premiere of a piece by the young, American composer Ethan Wickman: Solitary Deserts of Infinite Space. It’s cheerful and upbeat, rhythmically engaging, colorful — and decidedly tonal. To Paris now, for Francis Poulenc’s mercurial Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1932) — a work that is delightfully and mischievously varied — sometimes as naughty as a music hall burlesque, other times soulful, or neoclassic, or sensual, and a couple of times we’re taken to Bali for a bit of gamelan. After intermission, we stay in France for Claude Debussy’s "Fêtes" — the second part of his three Nocturnes (1900). As is usual with Debussy, this is suggestive music, not literal, with exciting rhythms, sudden flashes of instrumental color, and a procession that arrives on the scene and becomes one with it. To conclude this concert, Mr. Orent takes us to Edwardian England for one of that country’s greatest orchestral works: Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations (1899). Elgar did something in this work that nobody had done before: he took a theme and made variations on it that were brief personal sketches of his friends — often in vigorous activity, whether laughing musically or (in the case of a dog) barking merrily while jumping into a river to fetch a stick. Elgar never revealed what the original musical theme was, and no one has figured it out. But friendship is certainly the emotional theme of this beloved masterpiece.

The Virtuoso Orchestra
Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 7:30 PM
Rashi Auditorium
15 Walnut Park
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: (617) 965-2555
Website: www.newtonsymphony.org
E-Mail: office@newtonsymphony.org
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